Whitedotted Grouper, Epinephelus polystigma (Bleeker 1853)

Other Names: White Spotted Rock Cod, White-dotted Grouper, White-spotted Rock-cod

Whitedotted Grouper, Epinephelus polystigma, from Ambon Bay, Indonesia, January 1975. Source: John E. Randall / FishBase. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial

A dark brown grouper sometimes with a pattern of dark brown to blackish blotches, and fins covered in small white to creamish dots.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J., Epinephelus polystigma in Fishes of Australia, accessed 10 Dec 2023, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/4501

Whitedotted Grouper, Epinephelus polystigma (Bleeker 1853)

More Info


Off Cape York, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in eastern Indonesia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Inhabits estuaries, usually among mangroves, and the lower freshwater reaches of rivers; occasionally near reefs in mangrove areas.
Aggregates in shallow waters of river mouths and brackish mangrove areas before the new moon.


Dorsal fin XI, 15-16; Anal fin III, 8; Pectoral fin 16-18; Lateral line scales 49-55; Longitudinal scale series 81-91; Gill rakers 8-9 + 14-16; Pyloric caeca 8.  
Greatest body depth 2.6-3.0 in SL; head length 2.3-2.7 times in SL; interorbital area flat; snout short, length subequal to eye diameter; preorbital depth less than greatest width of upper lip; rounded preopercle, finely serrate, serrae at angle slightly enlarged; upper edge of operculum mostly enlarged; funnel-shaped anterior nostrils, rear margin expanded as a flap reaching posterior nostril; posterior nostril diameter 2-4 times larger than anterior nostril diameter; maxilla reaches past vertical at rear edge of eye, lower edge with rounded step at front of widest part; 2-3 rows of small subequal teeth on midlateral part of lower jaw; presence of 2 short stout canines at front of both jaws. Caudal fin rounded; pelvic fins not reaching anus in adults, 1.9-2.2 in head length.Scales weakly ctenoid on body except cycloid anteriorly above lateral line, on thorax and abdomen; body with auxiliary scales.  

Species Citation

Serranus polystigma Bleeker 1853, Natuurk. Tijdschr. Nederlandsch Indië 4: 244. Type locality: Benculen, Sumatra, Indonesia. 


Bray, D.J.


Australian Faunal Directory

Whitedotted Grouper, Epinephelus polystigma (Bleeker 1853)


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Bleeker, P. 1853. Diagnostische beschrijvingen van nieuwe of weinig bekende vischsoorten van Sumatra. Tiental V–X. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 4: 243-302.

Bleeker, P. 1876. Atlas Ichthyologique des Indes Orientales Néerlandaises, publié sous les auspices du Gouvernement colonial néerlandais. Tome 7. Percoides I, Priacanthiformes, Serraniformes, Grammisteiformes, Percaeformes, Datniaeformes. Amsterdam : Fréd. Müller 156 pp. pls 279-320. 

Castelnau, F.L. de 1875. Researches on the fishes of Australia. Intercolonial Exhibition Essays. 2. pp. 1–52 in, Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition of 1876 : Official Record. Melbourne. (p. 7, as Serranus australis).

Craig, M.T., Sadovy de Mitcheson, Y.J. & Heemstra, P.C. 2011. Groupers of the World: a Field and Market Guide. Grahamstown, South Africa : NISC Ltd 356 pp., Appendix 47 pp. 

Heemstra, P.C. & Randall, J.E. 1993. Groupers of the World (Family Serranidae, Subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125 Vol. 16. Rome: FAO. pp. 1-382.

Heemstra, P.C. & Randall, J.E. 1999. Family Serranidae. pp. 2442-2548 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds) The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790.  

Randall, J.E. 1987. A preliminary synopsis of the groupers (Perciformes: Serranidae: Epinephelinae) of the Indo-Pacific region. pp. 89-188 in Polovina, J.J. & Ralston, S. (eds) Tropical Snappers and Groupers: Biology and Fisheries Management. Boulder : Westview Press Inc. 659 pp. 

Randall, J.E. & Heemstra, P.C. 1991. Revision of Indo-Pacific groupers (Perciformes: Serranidae: Epinephelinae), with descriptions of five new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 20: 1-332.

Samoilys, M. & Choat, J.H. 2008. Epinephelus polystigma. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T132792A3452849. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2008.RLTS.T132792A3452849.en. Downloaded on 04 November 2016.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311154

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Max Size:50 cm TL

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