Epinephelus merra (Honeycomb grouper)


The honeycomb grouper, Epinephelus merra, is a member in the versatile family of sea basses (Serranidae). In the Indo-Pacific alone, there are many similar species that can be easily confused. Epinepelus merra has a white under-color and is covered in closely-set brown hexagon spots. There are 5 diagonal bands of darker brown, starting at the back and running down and forward. Its appearance resembles that of the snubnose grouper (Epinephelus macrospilos), but a white outline on the tail and anal fin. They are solitary. Juveniles are often found in or near Acropora corals for shelter.


Stated as Least Concern according to the IUCN Red list, because of its widespread distribution, abundance and presence within a number of marine protected areas. Although it is heavily fished in some areas and occurs in the live reef food fish trade, it matures early and is likely to be resilient to moderate levels of fishing pressure outside of spawning aggregations. Heavier fishing within spawning aggregations however are cause of some concern.


Honeycomb groupers can be found in the Indo-Pacifc, from the Eastern African coast , all the way to the French Polynesia, with exception of the Red Sea and Persian Gulf. They prefer shallow lagoons and sheltered seaward reefs, in a depth range of 0-50 meters.



Up t0 32 cm.

Prey / Predation

They feed on crustaceans and small. Also it has been described that they tend to prey more on fish as they grow older and bigger.

Special features

These groupers tend to be shy and should be approached gently. It has been classified as possibly toxic due to venom glands in its dorsal spines, but no evidence has been subjected so far.