Brownspotted Grouper, Epinephelus insularis Nakamura & Motomura 2021

Other Names: Brown Spotted Reef Cod, Brown-spotted Grouper, Brownspotted Rockcod, Coral Grouper, Honeycomb Cod, Pacifc Insular Grouper

A Coral Grouper, Epinephelus chlorostigma, in the Komodo Marine Park, Indonesia, May 2014. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale grouper covered in small polygonal brown spots (smaller than pupil, expanded on head and body undersurface) forming a reticulate pattern, a brown pectoral fin with a yellow margin, and a narrow white margin on the rear of the caudal fin.
In Australia, this species was previously known as Epinephelus chlorostigma, a species that occurs in the Red Sea and Western Indian Ocean (Nakamura & Motomura, 2021). 

Video of a juvenile Coral Grouper at Nusa Penida, Bali, Indonesia.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Epinephelus insularis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Dec 2023,

Brownspotted Grouper, Epinephelus insularis Nakamura & Motomura 2021

More Info


Occurs only on offshore reefs such as Rowley Shoals and Scott Reef, Western Australia. Inhabits seagrass and rubble areas near corals reefs at depths to 200 m.


A species of Epinephelus with the following combination of characters: dorsal-fin rays XI, 16 (rarely XI, 17); anal-fin rays III, 8; pectoral-fin rays 18; lateral-line scales 48–52; longitudinal scale series 114–132; total gill rakers 21–24; body deep, depth 30.7–42.7 % SL; 1st to 3rd dorsal-fin spine lengths gradually increasing, 3rd or 4th (rarely 5th) spine longest; anal-fin posterior margin rounded; caudal fin truncate.


Head, body, and all fins with small polygonal brown spots (smaller than pupil, expanded on head and body undersurface) on pale background, forming a reticulate pattern; and pectoral fin brown, its margin yellow when fresh (brownish in preserved specimens); caudal fin with narrow white posterior margin.


Feeds on small fishes and crustaceans (mainly stomatopods and crabs).

Species Citation

Epinephelus insularis Nakamura & Motomura 2021, Ichthyological Research 68(2): 264, Figs.1, 4a, 5a. Type locality: vicinity of Tanega-shima Island, Osumi Islands, Kagoshima, Japan (obtained from local supermarket).


Bray, D.J. 2022


Australian Faunal Directory

Brownspotted Grouper, Epinephelus insularis Nakamura & Motomura 2021


Andrawartha, B. & Tuma, D. 2007. Fil-o-Fish Australia, Recrational & Commercial Fish Handbook. Balnarring, Victoria : Candlelight Publishing 623 pp. (as Epinephelus chlorostigma)

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 (in part as Epinephelus chlorostigma)

Nakamura, J. & Motomura, H. 2021. Epinephelus insularis, a new species of grouper from the western Pacific Ocean, and validity of E. japonicus (Temminck and Schlegel 1843), a senior synonym of Serranus reevesii Richardson 1846 and E. tankahkeei Wu et al. 2020 (Perciformes: Epinephelidae). Ichthyological Research 68(2): 263-276.

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 (in part as Epinephelus chlorostigma)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311059


Depth:4–280 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:80 cm TL, 7 kg

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