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Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Common in outer reef slopes at depths below 15 m, also occurs in protected bays and lagoons as shallow as 4 m. May also be found down to a depth of 160 m. At Madagascar it feeds night and day on brachyuran crabs, fishes, shrimps, and galatheid crabs (Ref. 6774). In Kenyan waters it feeds on crabs, stomatopods, fishes, ophiuroids, and octopus (Ref. 6448). In the Red Sea, mostly fishes and some crustaceans (mainly crabs) are consumed (Ref. 6699).
  • Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall 1993 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=5222&speccode=12 External link.
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Distribution

Range Description

General
Epinephelus fasciatus is an Indo-Pacific species ranging from the Red Sea to Port Alfred (South Africa) (33°36’S), eastward to the Pitcairn Group, north to Japan and Korea, and south to the Arafura Sea, southern Queensland and Lord Howe Island (Australia). The species is one of the two most widely distributed groupers. It may not occur off Wallace and Futuna islands.

Country-specific
Red Sea, Somalia (Myers distributional database 2006), Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, KwaZulu-Natal South Africa, Madagascar, Seychelles, Comores, Mauritius, Réunion, Oman (Myers distributional database 2006), Yemen, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, southern Vietnam, Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia (Northern Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, Great Barrier Reef), Papua-New Guinea, Taiwan, southern Japan, Korea, southern China, Fiji, Tonga, Solomon Islands, Samoa, and New Caledonia. Source: Heemstra and Randall (1993), unless otherwise stated.
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Indo-Pacific: Red Sea to South Africa and eastward to the Pitcairn Group, north to Japan and Korea, south to the Arafura Sea (Ref. 9819), southern Queensland (Australia) and Lord Howe Island.
  • Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall 1993 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=5222&speccode=12 External link.
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Red Sea, Indo-West Pacific: East Africa and South Africa east to Wake Atoll, Marshall Islands and Pitcairn Group, north to southern Japan and Ogasawara Islands, south to Western Australia, Lord Howe Island, Norfolk Island, New Caledonia, Tonga and Rapa.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 11; Dorsal soft rays (total): 15 - 17; Analspines: 3; Analsoft rays: 8
  • Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall 1993 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=5222&speccode=12 External link.
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Size

Maximum size: 400 mm TL
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Max. size

40.0 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5222)); max. published weight: 2,000 g (Ref. 30874)
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Diagnostic Description

Description

Common in outer reef slopes at depths below 15 m, also occurs in protected bays and lagoons as shallow as 4 m. May also be found down to a depth of 160 m. At Madagascar it feeds night and day on brachyuran crabs, fishes, shrimps, and galatheid crabs (Ref. 6774). In Kenyan waters it feeds on crabs, stomatopods, fishes, ophiuroids, and octopus (Ref. 6448). In the Red Sea, mostly fishes and some crustaceans (mainly crabs) are consumed (Ref. 6699).
  • Anon. (1996). FishBase 96 [CD-ROM]. ICLARM: Los Baños, Philippines. 1 cd-rom pp.
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Type Information

Type for Epinephelus emoryi
Catalog Number: USNM 141929
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Preparation: Illustration
Collector(s): V. Brock, K. Emory & T. Kohler
Year Collected: 1946
Locality: Marshall Islands: Bikini Atoll, coral head within the Atoll at the following position: 11 deg 33' 13" N. Lat; 165 deg 28' 39" E. Long., Bikini Atoll, Ralik Chain, Marshall Islands, Pacific
Depth (m): 9 to 14
  • Type:
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Paratype for Epinephelus emoryi
Catalog Number: USNM 139695
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Fishes
Collector(s): D. Frey
Year Collected: 1945
Locality: Pacific Ocean: Marianas Is., Southside Rota Island, Rota, Northern Mariana Islands, Mariana Islands, Pacific
  • Paratype:
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
General
Epinephelus fasciatus is a reef-associated species that is common in outer reef slopes at depths below 15 m to 160 m. Less common on non-coral reefs. It also occurs in protected bays and lagoons as shallow as 4 m. Blacktip grouper may also be found down to a depth of 160 m. It occurs on mid-shelf reefs on the GBR, Queensland (Pears, 2005; Newman et al 1997) and is very common around dead coral blocks in seagrass beds in the Red Sea (southern Egypt) (Lieske and Myers 2004).

Feeding
In Madagascar it feeds night and day on brachyuran crabs, fishes, shrimps, and galatheid crabs. In Kenyan waters it feeds on crabs, stomatopods, fishes, ophiuroids, and octopus and in the Red Sea, mostly fishes and some crustaceans (mainly crabs) are consumed (Morgans 1964, Harmein-Vivien and Bouchon 1976). In Tuamotu archipelago the species is reported as a macro-carnivore (Mellin et al. 2006).

Reproduction and maturity
Blacktip grouper is a small species (max. size to 40 cm TL), with a relatively fast growth rate and small size at maturity. The species is known to form spawning aggregations in Sabah (Daw, 2004). Backtip grouper can attain sexual maturity at 12 cm SL (Sadovy and Cornish 2000), although Myers (1999) gives a length of 16 cm (SL). Maximum age is reported at 19 years (Pears 2005) (Table 8). Reproductively active fish were obtained in February on the North Kenya Banks and/or off Mafia island, Tanzania (Nzioka, 1979). Spawning aggregations have been reported from Sabah, Eastern Malaysia (Daw 2004). A length-weight relationship is given by Kulbicki et al. (2005) of y g = 0.0138.x cm FL.3.04066. Male and females mature at the same size (20 cm) in New Caledonia to implies gonochorism for this species; sex rations of 2:1 females to male were established (IRD database).

Follow the link below for Table 8: Growth parameters for E. fasciatus from the Great Barrier Reef (Lizard island, Townsville, Mackay, Pompey combined) and Seychelles (Northern and Southern Amirantes) (Pears 2005); New Caledonia (Loubens 1978).

Systems
  • Marine
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Environment

reef-associated; brackish; marine; depth range 4 - 160 m (Ref. 5222), usually 20 - 45 m (Ref. 5222)
  • Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall 1993 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=5222&speccode=12 External link.
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Depth range based on 93 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 45 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 1.83 - 100
  Temperature range (°C): 24.633 - 29.003
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.000 - 2.589
  Salinity (PPS): 30.220 - 35.547
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.080 - 4.851
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.079 - 0.349
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.910 - 8.403

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 1.83 - 100

Temperature range (°C): 24.633 - 29.003

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.000 - 2.589

Salinity (PPS): 30.220 - 35.547

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.080 - 4.851

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.079 - 0.349

Silicate (umol/l): 0.910 - 8.403
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 4 - 160m.
From 4 to 160 meters.

Habitat: reef-associated. Epinephelus fasciatus = Redbarred rockcod.   (Forsskal, 1775)  Attains 35 cm. Red Sea southwards to Port Alfred and eastwards to the central Pacific. A common species from the shallows to 160 metres.
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Trophic Strategy

Common in outer reef slopes at depths below 15 m, also occurs in protected bays and lagoons as shallow as 4 m. May also be found down to a depth of 160 m. At Madagascar it feeds night and day on brachyuran crabs, fishes, shrimps, and galatheid crabs. In Kenyan waters it feeds on crabs, stomatopods, fishes, ophiuroids, and octopus. In the Red Sea, mostly fishes and some crustaceans (mainly crabs) are consumed (Ref. 5222). In rocky and coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific Region (Ref. 9137).
  • Heemstra, P.C. and J.E. Randall 1993 FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p. (Ref. 5222)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=5222&speccode=12 External link.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Epinephelus fasciatus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 19
Specimens with Barcodes: 52
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Epinephelus fasciatus

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 11 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

CTCTATCTTGTATTCGGTGCCTGAGCCGGTATAGTAGGAACAGCTCTC---AGCCTGCTTATTCGAGCTGAGCTGAGTCAGCCAGGAGCCCTACTCGGCGAC---GACCAAATTTATAATGTAATCGTTACAGCACATGCTTTCGTAATAATTTTCTTTATAGTAATGCCAATCATGATTGGAGGCTTTGGAAACTGACTCATCCCACTTATG---ATCGGCGCCCCAGATATAGCATTCCCTCGAATAAATAATATAAGCTTCTGGCTTCTCCCACCATCTTTCCTCCTTCTTCTCGCCTCTTCCGGGGTAGAAGCTGGAGCCGGCACTGGCTGAACAGTCTACCCACCTCTGGCTGGAAACCTGGCCCATGCAGGTGCATCTGTAGACTTA---ACCATCTTCTCACTACACTTAGCAGGGATTTCATCAATTCTGGGGGCTATCAACTTTATTACAACTATTATTAACATAAAACCTCCTGCTATCTCTCAGTATCAAACACCTTTATTCGTCTGAGCTGTCCTAATTACAGCAGTTCTCCTGCTCCTATCCCTTCCCGTGCTTGCTGCC---GGCATCACTATACTTCTTACAGATCGTAATCTTAACACTACTTTCTTTGATCCAGCTGGAGGAGGAGATCCTATTCTCTACCAACACCTA
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Genomic DNA is available from 2 specimens with morphological vouchers housed at Florida Museum of Natural History
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Fennessy, S., Kulbicki, M., Cabanban, A.S., Myers, R. & Choat, J.H.

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

Contributor/s

Justification
Epinephelus fasciatus is one of the most widespread and common groupers and it occurs in numerous well managed marine protected areas. Therefore, this species has been assessed as Least Concern. However there are distinct sub-populations and certain regional assessments may consider this species to be Near Threatened or Vulnerable because of overfishing and potential for habitat degradation. Increased management of this species is needed in some areas. Catch and catch rate data are limited, mainly because they are seldom identified to species, but are lumped with other groupers. Available data are widely spatially separated and contradictory, probably reflecting area-specific variation in stock status and habitat preferences of this species. There has been a steady decline in CPUE in southern Japan, to less than one third of that at the beginning of the time series. There has been inconsistent variation in catches from Mozambique. In Reunion, total catch has dropped by 40% in comparison to that of 13 years ago, with similar total effort levels, although data are inaccurate, being voluntary. In the Pacific, catches have declined to about 25% of what they were 50 years ago in one locality, but in other localities this trend is not apparent.
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Population

Population
General
Epinephelus fasciatus is one of the most widespread and common of all grouper species. There are some questions about distinct sub-populations and there are also known declines in some areas. The species appears to be able to replace other larger grouper species that are fished out.

Subpopulations
Up to six populations may exist, based on meristic and colour variation.

Follow the link below for Table 1: Intra-specific variation in E. fasciatus characters.

Fisheries-independent data
Not seen in northern Somalia while diving on shallow (2 to 14 m) non-coral reefs in northern-eastern Somalia (Mann and Fielding 2000). Not reported from the North Kenya Banks in the late 1950s (Morgans 1964). Reported in shallow (<30 m) SCUBA dives in southern Mozambique coral reefs between Ponta do Ouro and Inhaca (Robertson et al. 1996, Pereira 2003). In shallow (9 to 13 m) fixed transect UVC surveys in the St Lucia and Maputaland Marine Reserves (northern KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa) between 1987 and 1992, Chater et al. (1995) recorded five individuals out of 43 groupers, and rated it as common based on informal fishing and diving surveys in these MPAs. Classified as abundant (~27 individuals per 1,000 m² of reef) in the Seychelles (Pears 2005). On the west coast of India, this species was recorded at only one of nine shallow water (2 to 28 m) sites surveyed in shallow water (2 to 28 m; Sluka and Lazarus unpub.). Rare in Hong Kong (Sadovy and Cornish 2000). Classified as rare (~0.6 individuals per 1,000 m² of reef) on the GBR (Pears 2005); low densities (0.22 to 0.89 fish/4,000 m²) in UVC dives on mid-shelf and outer-shelf reefs (Newman et al. 1997). In terms of densities, this species ranked 8th of 12 grouper species in French Polynesia, 10th of 18 grouper species in Tonga and 6th of 32 grouper species in New Caledonia. Densities were highest at the latter locality.

Follow the link below for Table 2: Densities (no. of fish/km²) of E. fasciatus.

Fisheries-dependent data
Few (n=4 of 130 groupers) recorded in linefish catches in the east African region by the mid 1970s (Nzioka 1977). Initially quite commonly recorded (8% of all groupers; only percentages available) in commercial line catches from southern Mozambique in the mid-1990s after the fishery rapidly developed following 20 years of light fishing effort during the civil war (Dengo and David 1993, van der Elst et al., 1994). Subsequently (to 2005), its contribution to grouper catches fluctuated between 0 and 4% by number (D. Gove, Mozambican Fisheries Research Institute, pers. comm.). Not recorded in trap catches in central Mozambique from 1997-1998 (Abdula et al. 2000). Not recorded from commercial boat line catches (12,094 groupers) from central KZN coast (non-coral reefs) from 2002 to 2006 (Fennessy unpub. data). Harmelin-Vivien and Bouchon (1976) reported it to be one of the most abundant serranids in south-west Madagascar at depths of 20 to 45 m, although commercial fishers report it to be very rare off Tamatave on the East coast (A. Pages, Refrigepeche, Est. pers. comm.). Makes an important contribution to artisinal catches in Reunion (Table 3) and is a primary target of artisinal fishers in the Seychelles (Pittman 1996). This author also noted that it was particularly abundant on reefs of Baie Ternay Marine Park and Brizarre Rock. Spawning aggregations reported from Sabah, Eastern Malaysia (Daw 2004). Percentage contributions (assumed to be by number) to grouper catches from “essentially unexploited” deep-slope reefs were low in Micronesia (0.55%) and Polynesia (1.82%) - Dalzell and Preston (1992), reported in Dalzell et al. (1996).

Follow the link below for:
Table 3: Data from Yaeyama Is. fishing market (Ishigaki and Iriomote Island) of the southern part of Okinawa island.
Table 4: Catch data (port monitoring) for the Mozambican commercial line fishery.
Table 5: Small-scale artisinal fishery catches (mt; voluntary estimated data provided by fishers) from Reunion.
Table 6: Catches (kg) from three localities in the Pacific.
Table 7: Length frequencies of E. fasciatus.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
General
The greatest threat to Epinephelus fasciatus is loss of habitat from episodes of coral reef bleaching in the range of this species that are likely to occur increasingly as SST increases (Sheppard 2003). Other threats include dynamiting of reefs, fishing with poisons and netting on reefs that have resulted in loss of habitat in several countries, such as Tanzania, Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia (Spalding et al. 2001, Kunzmann 2004).

Fishing
Most of the fishing effort for blacktip grouper in the region is small-scale, but it is largely unregulated and can generally be assumed to be increasing (e.g., Martosubroto 2005, Cunningham and Bodiguel 2006, Morgan 2006, Flewwelling and Hosch 2006). The species is caught for the live reef fish trade (Lee and Sadovy 1998).
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Least Concern (LC)
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
General
Epinephelus fasciatus occurs in numerous marine protected areas throughout its range.

Country-specific
Africa
Only 225 km² of reefs are no take-areas in Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique (Wells et al. 2007), however compliance is variable. In KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, most of the north coast which contains coral reefs is protected by a 145 km long MPA in which no demersal fishing is allowed, and is strictly enforced. It is intended that this MPA and the southern Mozambique coast from Ponta d’Ouro to Maputo will be incorporated into a Transboundary MPA, with areas zoned for protection, which should offer further protection to this species.

South Africa
In South Africa, as part of a suite of restricted species, a maximum of five individuals of this species may be retained by recreational fishers in one day; no limits for commercial fishers.

Mozambique
In Mozambique, a maximum of 10 individuals of demersal species may be retained by recreational fishers.

Australia
Occurs throughout the GBR Marine Park, and there are also size and bag limit restrictions for the recreational fishery in the state of Queensland, Australia.

Philippines
In the Philippines in the Tubataha Marine Protected Area, Sulu Sea.
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: commercial
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Wikipedia

Blacktip grouper

The blacktip grouper or redbanded grouper, Epinephelus fasciatus, is a species of marine fish in the family Serranidae.[2]

Distribution[edit]

The blacktip grouper is widespread throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific area from the Red Sea to South Africa, as far north as Korea, and in the waters around Australia to Pitcairn Islands.[3]

Description[edit]

The blacktip grouper grows up to 40 cm in length and may weigh up to 2 kg, but its common size is average 22 cm.[3] The tips of the spines of the dorsal fin are black, and it may have a dark red cap above the eyes.[4][5] A variant occurs with a uniformly pale body except for the front part.[6]

It feeds on crustaceans and smaller fishes by ambushing them.[3][5] It is found associated with coral reefs from 4 m deep (more commonly from 15 m) up to 160 m, in both marine and brackish water, sometimes in groups of 10-15 individuals.[3][5] Juveniles may find shelter in mangrove swamps.[6]

Blacktip groupers of the Red Sea are fished by the Bedouin.[6] It has also been associated with ciguatera poisoning.[3]

Parasites[edit]

Philometra fasciati (Nematoda, Philometridae), a parasite of the ovary of the blacktip grouper

Blacktip groupers are host of several parasites, including Pseudorhabdosynochus spp. (Diplectanid Monogeneans) on the gills.[7] The philometrid nematode Philometra fasciati is parasitic in the ovary of female fish;[8] the adult female parasite is a red worm which can reach up to 40 centimetres in length, for a diameter of only 1.6 millimetre; the males are tiny.

Taxonomic synonyms[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Fennessy, S., Kulbicki, M., Cabanban, A.S., Myers, R. & Choat, J.H. 2008. Epinephelus fasciatus. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 18 October 2013.
  2. ^ http://www.fishbase.org/comnames/CommonNamesList.php?ID=5348&GenusName=Epinephelus&SpeciesName=fasciatus&StockCode=5587
  3. ^ a b c d e Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2007). "Epinephelus fasciatus" in FishBase. 5 2007 version.
  4. ^ http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/132817/0
  5. ^ a b c Lieske, E. and Myers, R.F. (2004) Coral reef guide; Red Sea London, HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-715986-2
  6. ^ a b c Siliotti, A. (2002) fishes of the red sea Verona, Geodia ISBN 88-87177-42-2
  7. ^ Justine, J.-L. 2005: Species of Pseudorhabdosynochus Yamaguti, 1958 (Monogenea: Diplectanidae) from Epinephelus fasciatus and E. merra (Perciformes: Serranidae) off New Caledonia and other parts of the Indo-Pacific Ocean, with a comparison of measurements of specimens prepared using different methods, and a description of P. caledonicus n. sp. Systematic Parasitology, 62, 1-37. doi:10.1007/s11230-005-5480-0
  8. ^ Moravec, F. & Justine, J.-L. 2014: Philometrids (Nematoda: Philometridae) in carangid and serranid fishes off New Caledonia, including three new species. Parasite, 21, 21. doi:10.1051/parasite/2014022
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