Coral Grouper, Epinephelus corallicola (Kuhl & Hasselt 1828)

Other Names: Black-dottted Cod, Coral Cod, Coral Rockcod, Coral Rockcod, Coral Rock-cod, Duskyfin Grouper

A Coral Grouper, Epinephelus corallicola, in Malaysia. Source: Will White. License: All rights reserved

A pale bluish-grey to greyish-green rockcod with saddle-like blotches along the back, relatively evenly-spaced dark spots scattered on the body and all fins, and an irregular pattern of paler greyish blotches.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Epinephelus corallicola in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jul 2024,

Coral Grouper, Epinephelus corallicola (Kuhl & Hasselt 1828)

More Info


Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, around the tropical north to northern New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, west-central Pacific. Found in a range of habitats from silty shallow reefs to clear outer reef slopes.


Dorsal fin XI, 15-17; Anal fin III, 8. 
Head profile long and flat; body with ctenoid scales except cycloid scales anterodorsally and ventrally; axillary scales present; greatest depth of body 2.9-3.2 in SL; caudal fin rounded; pelvic fins short, 1.8-2.3 in head length


In parts of its range, the species forms part of the live reef food fish trade. Possession and size limits apply in Queensland.

Similar Species

Differs from the similar Epinephelus howlandi and E. macrospilos in having more widely spaced spots on a pale greyish-green to brownish background, a longer flatter head profile, and more lateral line scales. With growth, the spots become more numerous and more widely-spaced.

Species Citation

Serranus corallicola Kuhl  Hasselt 1828. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 2: 336. Type locality: Java, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Coral Grouper, Epinephelus corallicola (Kuhl & Hasselt 1828)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

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

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp. 

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. 

Bleeker, P. 1873. Mededeelingen omtrent eene herziening der Indisch-Archipelagische soorten van Epinephelus, Lutjanus, Dentex en verwante geslachten. Verslagen en Mededeelingen der Koninklijke Akademie van Wetenschappen (Afdeeling Natuurjunde). Amsterdam 2.2 7: 40-46 

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. 

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 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. 

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Biodiversity of shallow reef fish assemblages in Western Australia using a rapid censusing technique. Records of the Western Australian Museum 20: 247-270 

Johnson, J.W. & Gill, A.C. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of Sweers Island, Gulf of Carpentaria. Gulf of Carpentaria Scientific Study Report. Geography Monograph Series. Brisbane: Royal Geographic Society of Queensland. pp. 239-260 

Kuhl, H. & Hasselt, J.C. van in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1828. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 2 xxi, 2 + 490 pp., pls 9-40. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp. 

Prokop, F. 2002. Australian Fish Guide. Croydon South, Victoria : Australian Fishing Network 256 pp. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs. 

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

Rhodes, K., Russell, B., Pollard, D., Kulbicki, M., Heemstra, P.C. & Samoilys, M. 2008. Epinephelus corallicola. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T132763A3444891. Downloaded on 09 April 2018.

Wilson, D.T. & McCormick, M.I. 1997. Spatial and temporal validation of settlement-marks in the otoliths of tropical reef fishes. Marine Ecology Progress Series 153: 259-271.

Wilson, D.T. & McCormick, M.I. 1999. Microstructure of settlement-marks in the otoliths of tropical reef fishes. Marine Biology 134: 29-41

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311066


Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Depth:2-30 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:49 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map