Goldspotted Rockcod, Epinephelus coioides (Hamilton-Buchanan 1822)

Other Names: Brown-spotted Grouper, Brown-spotted Rockcod, Estuary Cod, Estuary Rock Cod, Estuary Rockcod, Gold Spotted Rock Cod, Greasy Cod, North-west Groper, Orange Spotted Cod, Orange-spotted Cod, Orangespotted Grouper, Orange-spotted Grouper, Rockcod, Spotted Cod, Spotted River Cod

A Goldspotted Rockcod, Epinephelus coioides, at the Wreck of the Karma, Queensland. Source: Dave Harasti / License: All rights reserved

Pale brownish to greyish-brown above, usually with 5 indistinct angled "H-shaped" darker bars along the back and sides, and many small orange-brown to reddish-brown spots scattered on the head, body and fins. The spots are pupil-sized in juveniles, and become more numerous and relatively smaller in larger fish.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Epinephelus coioides in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Jul 2024,

Goldspotted Rockcod, Epinephelus coioides (Hamilton-Buchanan 1822)

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Carnarvon, Western Australia (and possibly further south), around the tropical north to Hat Head, New South Wales (and possibly further south). Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the Indo-West Pacific. 
Inhabits estuaries (juveniles) and inshore reefs (adults), often on muddy and rubble bottoms in brackish waters. Juveniles prefer sandy, muddy, gravel and mangrove areas in shallow estuaries and inshore reefs.


Dorsal fin XI,13-16; Anal fin III,8; Gill rakers, first arch 8-10 + 14-17; Lateral-line scales 58-65; Pyloric caeca 50-60.
Body elongate, greatest depth 2.9-3.7 in SL (specimens 10-78 cm SL); head length 2.3-2.6 in SL; interorbital width 5.0-6.2 in HL; preopercle with enlarged serrae at angle and a broad shallow notch just above angle; upper edge of operculum straight or somewhat convex; maxilla reaches to or slightly beyond vertical at rear edge of eye; upper jaw length 17-20% of SL; midlateral part of lower jaw with 2-3 rows of subequal teeth.
Lateral body scales rough, with minute auxiliary scales (body scales ctenoid except for nape, back, thorax, abdomen and above anal-fin base with cycloid scales); lateral-line tubes of anterior scales branched in adults. 


Feeds mostly on small crabs and fishes.


This species is a diandric protogynous hermaphrodite, where some individuals mature directly as males (primary males) or first reproduce as females and then change sex to males (secondary males).


The Goldspotted Rockcod is often confused with the Blackspotted Rockcod, Epinephelus malabaricus, or the Greasy Rockcod, Epinephelus tauvina. 

Species Citation

Bola coioides Hamilton, F. 1822. Fishes River Ganges: 82, 369. Type locality: Ganges River, India.


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Goldspotted Rockcod, Epinephelus coioides (Hamilton-Buchanan 1822)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311007


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-100 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish

Habitat:Reef associated, estuaries

Max Size:120 cm TL; 32 kg

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map