Purple Rockcod, Epinephelus cyanopodus (Richardson 1846)

Other Names: Blue Maori, Blue Maori Cod, Purple Rock Cod, Purple Rock-cod, Speckled Blue Grouper, Speckled Grouper, Yellowfin Grouper

A Purple Rockcod, Epinephelus cyanopodus, Shiprock, Port Hacking, New South Wales, 28 October 2015. Source: John Turnbull / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A greyish rockcod covered in irregular fine dark spots and slightly larger black spots. Small juveniles are mostly yellow with dark spots anteriorly, and gradually become bluish to pale grey with yellowish fins at lengths of  15-20 cm.

Video of a Purple Rockcod.

Cite this page as:
Epinephelus cyanopodus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/4666

Purple Rockcod, Epinephelus cyanopodus (Richardson 1846)

More Info


Far northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to at least Sydney, New South Wales, with juveniles south to at least Narooma; also the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, west-central Pacific.
Inhabits bays, lagoons, and outer reefs, usually around coral or rocky outcrops in depths to 150 m.


Feeds mostly on sand-dwelling fishes and crustaceans.


Forms spawning aggregations during spring and summer.


Targeted for the live reef fish food trade and aquarium trade in parts of its range, and the spawning aggregation is targeted by recreational fishers. 


The Purple Rockcod is often misidentified as Epinephelus flavocaeruleus, which occurs in the Indian Ocaean.

Species Citation

Serranus cyanopodus Richardson 1846, Report of the 15th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 1845: 233. Type locality: Canton, China.


Atlas of Living Australia

Purple Rockcod, Epinephelus cyanopodus (Richardson 1846)


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., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2 

Bleeker, P. 1855. Zesde bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Amboina. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 8: 391-434 (as Serranus hoedtii)

Choat, J.H., van Herwerden, L., Robbins, W.D., Hobbs, J.P. & Ayling, A.M. 2006. A report on the ecological surveys undertaken at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, February 2006. Report by James Cook University to the Department of the Environment and Heritage. 65 pp. 

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. 

De Vis, C.W. 1882. Descriptions of some new Queensland fishes. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 7(3): 367-371 (as Homalogrystes luctuosus)

Fowler, A.M., K. Parkinson, K. & Booth, D.J. 2017. New poleward observations of 30 tropical reef fishes in temperate southeastern Australia. Marine Biodiversity 48: 2249-2254 https://doi.org/10.1007/s12526-017-0748-6

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2 

Francis, M.P. 2019. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. figshare. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.4428305.v2

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93, 193-228 in Hutchings, P. (ed.) Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 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. 

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) 

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. 

Kuiter, R. & Kuiter, S. 2018. Coastal sea-fishes of south-eastern Australia. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, 371 pp.

Ma, K.Y. & Craig, M.T. 2018. An inconvenient monophyly: an update on the taxonomy of the groupers (Epinephelidae). Copeia 106(3): 443-456 https://doi.org/10.1643/CI-18-055
Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 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 

Randall, J.E. & Whitehead, P.J.P. 1985. Epinephelus cyanopodus (Richardson), a senior synonym of E. hoedtii (Bleeker) and comparison with the related E. flavocaeruleus (Lacépède). Cybium 9(1): 29-39 fig. 1 pls 1-2 

Richardson, J. 1846. Report on the ichthyology of the seas of China and Japan. Report of the 15th meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science 1845: 187-320 See ref at BHL

Russell, B. 2018. Epinephelus cyanopodus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018: e.T132815A100465146. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T132815A100465146.en. Downloaded on 19 January 2021.

Speare, P., Cappo, M., Rees, M., Brownlie, J. & Oxley, W. 2004. Deep water fish and benthic surveys in the Lord Howe Island Marine Park (Commonwealth Waters): February 2004. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Sciences. 30 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311145

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:2-150 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:122 cm TL

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