Overview

Comprehensive Description

Description

  Common names: grouper (English), mero (Espanol)
 
Epinephelus clippertonensis Allen & Robertson, 1999

Clipperton grouper

Body robust, compressed; end of top jaw exposed; operculum edge with 3 flat spines; preoperculum without spines; 1 dorsal fin with XI spines, 15-16 rays, spines III-IV longest; anal fin with III spines; 15-16 dorsal rays; 8 anal rays; pectoral rays 18-20, usually 19, rarely 18; tail rounded; lateral line complete, ending at tail base, smoothly arched; scales rough, relatively small: 48-51 scales on lateral line, 46-50 around tail base, and 16-18 above the lateral line, often a few small imbedded scales on front of maxillary.


Pale grey to light grey-brown with white spots and flecks on head and body; large fish (males?) can switch to a bicolored pattern by darkening the rear half and lightening the front half of the body. Juveniles  with dense small dark spots.



        Size: 61 cm.

Habitat: coral reef.

Depth: 1-100 m.

        An island endemic found at Clipperton, the Revillagigedos and Rocas Alijos, off southern Baja.
   
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Biology

Insular, reed-associated species inhabiting depths to at least 30 m (Ref. 089707).
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Distribution

Depth

Depth Range (m): 1 (S) - 100 (S)
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Zoogeography

See Map (including site records) of Distribution in the Tropical Eastern Pacific 
 
Global Endemism: All species, East Pacific endemic, Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic

Regional Endemism: All species, TEP endemic, TEP oceanic island (s) endemic, Multiple oceanic islands endemic, Island (s), Island (s) only

Residency: Resident

Climate Zone: Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap), Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos), Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
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Range Description

Epinephelus clippertonensis is restricted to Clipperton atoll, Alijos Rocks (northern Baja California) and Revillagigedos Islands.
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Eastern Pacific (Clipperton Island).
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Eastern Central Pacific: Baja California to Clipperton Island.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Size

Length max (cm): 61.0 (S)
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Dorsal spines (total): 11; Dorsal soft rays (total): 15 - 16; Analspines: 3; Analsoft rays: 8
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Size

Max. size

61.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 89707))
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Diagnostic Description

Distinguished by the following characteristics: robust and compressed body; exposed end of upper jaw; 3 broad, flat spines on edge of operculum; preoperculum without spines; rounded caudal fin; lateral line complete, ending at base of tail and smoothly arched; rough and relatively small scales; 16-18 scales above the lateral line (Ref. 089707).
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Type Information

Holotype for Epinephelus clippertonensis Allen & Robertson
Catalog Number: USNM 347506
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): G. Allen & D. Robertson
Year Collected: 1994
Locality: Clipperton Is., Eastern Pacific (No Further Data), Clipperton Island, Pacific
Depth (m): 1 to 30
  • Holotype: Allen, G. R. & Robertson, D. R. 1999. Revue Francaise d'Aquariologie, Herpetologie. 26 (1-2): 12, figs 1-3.
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Paratype for Epinephelus clippertonensis Allen & Robertson
Catalog Number: USNM 332389
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): G. Allen & D. Robertson
Year Collected: 1994
Locality: Clipperton Is., Eastern Pacific (No Further Data), Clipperton Island, Pacific
Depth (m): 1 to 30
  • Paratype: Allen, G. R. & Robertson, D. R. 1999. Revue Francaise d'Aquariologie, Herpetologie. 26 (1-2): 12, figs 1-3.
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Ecology

Habitat

Salinity: Marine, Marine Only

Inshore/Offshore: Inshore, Inshore Only

Water Column Position: Bottom, Bottom only

Habitat: Reef (rock &/or coral), Reef only, Corals, Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)

FishBase Habitat: Reef Associated
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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Epinephelus clippertonensis is found in shallow reefs and rocky bottoms. Because of the isolation of Clipperton, nothing is know about its biology, but it is assumed that it is very similar to its sister species and very closely relative, Epinephelus labriformes.

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

demersal; marine; depth range 30 - ? m (Ref. 89707)
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Trophic Strategy

Feeding

Feeding Group: Carnivore

Diet: mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs), octopus/squid/cuttlefish, bony fishes
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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Egg Type: Pelagic, Pelagic larva
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Epinephelus clippertonensis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 2
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed

CITES: Not listed
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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Rocha, L., Ferreira, B., Choat, J.H., Craig, M.T., Sadovy, Y. & Bertoncini, A.A.

Reviewer/s
Sadovy, Y. & Moss, K. (Grouper and Wrasse Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
Although Epinephelus clippertonensis has a restricted range, there are no currently known threats and the population is presumed to be stable.
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Population

Population
This is a common species of Epinephelus at Clipperton Atoll (Allen and Robertson 1999). It is very closely related to Epinephelus labriformes and was often reported as E. labriformes or Epinephelus sp. prior to its description in 1999 (Craig et al. 2006).

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
There are no major threats to Epinephelus clippertonensis because it occurs in an uninhabited area. Its restricted range makes it vulnerable to threatening processes that may develop.
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Epinephelus clippertonensis is only known from Clipperton Island, a remote location not thought to be subject to demersal fishing, Alijos Rocks (northern Baja California), and Revillagigedos Island, which is a marine protected area. There are no specific conservation measures for this species.
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