Overview

Comprehensive Description

This subfamily comprises the large commercially-important groupers of the region. There are several epinepheline genera with a single species in the region (one with two) and then two large genera, the Epinephelus and the Mycteroperca. The phylogenetics of the Serranidae have been recently examined by Craig and Hastings (2007), and they find that the regional Mycteroperca do form a distinct clade, but the regional Epinephelus split into three clades: the true Epinephelus including the common shallow-water species, the deep-water set of species (or Hyporthodus), and the deep-water E. drummondhayi (or Triso). Interestingly, Paranthias furcifer falls within the Cephalopholis clade, despite its derived form and non-benthic habits. This conclusion is reinforced by the report of hybrids between the two genera from both Noronha and Bermuda.

The basic body form and appearance of many groupers are the same and they are difficult to distinguish in the field. The two large genera are most easily separated by the anal-fin ray count: only eight soft rays (occasionally nine) in the Epinephelus and usually 11 or more (rarely 10) in the Mycteroperca (all have 11 dorsal-fin spines and 3 anal-fin spines, except E. nigritus with ten). Two small reef groupers, the Graysby and the Coney, belong to Cephalopholis, easily separated by having only nine dorsal-fin spines. The remaining regional epinephelines comprise Paranthias furcifer (with D-IX,18-19 A-III,9), Dermatolepis inermis (with D-XI,18-20 A-III,9), Alphestes afer (with D-XI,18-19 A-III,9), and the deep-water Gonioplectrus hispanus (with D-VIII,13 A-III,7).

Fin-ray counts can identify most Caribbean epinepheline larvae to genus relatively easily. However, within genera there is a broad overlap of fin-ray counts and little variation in body form, making DNA-sequence analyses critical to differentiating the larval groupers.

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 632 specimens in 26 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 316 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 80000
  Temperature range (°C): 9.968 - 27.537
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.162 - 30.223
  Salinity (PPS): 33.041 - 37.096
  Oxygen (ml/l): 0.767 - 6.375
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.025 - 2.132
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.868 - 21.239

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 80000

Temperature range (°C): 9.968 - 27.537

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.162 - 30.223

Salinity (PPS): 33.041 - 37.096

Oxygen (ml/l): 0.767 - 6.375

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.025 - 2.132

Silicate (umol/l): 0.868 - 21.239
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Associations

Known predators

Epinephelinae (large groupers, carnivorous) is prey of:
Chondrichthyes

Based on studies in:
Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands shelf (Reef)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Opitz S (1996) Trophic interactions in Caribbean coral reefs. ICLARM Tech Rep 43, Manila, Philippines
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Known prey organisms

Epinephelinae (large groupers, carnivorous) preys on:
Chondrichthyes
Actinopterygii
phytoplankton
Cheloniidae
Cephalopoda
Decapoda

Based on studies in:
Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands shelf (Reef)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Opitz S (1996) Trophic interactions in Caribbean coral reefs. ICLARM Tech Rep 43, Manila, Philippines
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© SPIRE project

Source: SPIRE

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
                                        
Specimen Records:2,572Public Records:961
Specimens with Sequences:2,202Public Species:105
Specimens with Barcodes:2,146Public BINs:125
Species:157         
Species With Barcodes:152         
          
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Barcode data

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Locations of barcode samples

Collection Sites: world map showing specimen collection locations for Epinephelinae

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