Epinephelus fasciatus (Blacktip grouper)


The blacktip grouper (Epinephelus fasciatus), has a pale white to red/brown body with 5-6 vertical bands of varying intensity of color. The top of the head is red to dark brown, with dark brown blotches, and banded lips. The tips of the dorsal fin are always black, giving the fish its name. They are a solitary species.


Stated as Least Concern according to the IUCN Red list. Epinephelus fasciatus is one of the most widespread and common groupers and it occurs in numerous  marine protected areas. 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 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.


They are found in tropical waters throughout the Indo-Pacific. From the  Red Sea to South Africa and eastward to Japan and Korea, south to the Arafura Sea, southern Queensland (Australia) and Lord Howe Island. They prefer reef slopes, coastal lagoons and seawards reefs, blocks of dead coral and seagrass fields, in a depth range of 4-160 meters. They are mostly seen in the upper 30 meters though, resting on dead coral blocks.


Blacktip groupers exhibit both  simultaneous and sequential hermaphroditism. Smaller individuals within a social group are simultaneous hermaphrodites, while the largest often lose female function and reproduce exclusively as a male.


Up to 40cm.

Prey / Predation

Depending on their location their diet may vary, but in general it includes crabs and shrimps, small fish and octopus. They are ambush predators, lunging forward and opening their mouth wide to engulf their prey.

Special features

Blacktip groupers are not shy, they will often lay still and if approached gently stay where they are.