Blackspotted Rockcod, Epinephelus malabaricus (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

Other Names: Blackspot Cod, Estuary Cod, Estuary Rock-cod, Malabar Cod, Malabar Grouper, Malabar Rock-cod, Morgan's Cod

A Blackspotted Rockcod, Epinephelus malabaricus, on the Ribbon Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: William T. White. License: All rights reserved

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Epinephelus malabaricus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Jul 2024,

Blackspotted Rockcod, Epinephelus malabaricus (Bloch & Schneider 1801)

More Info


Murchison River, Western Australia, around the tropical north to at least Wallis Lake, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical Indo-west-central Pacific.
Inhabits coral and rocky reefs, tidepools, estuaries, mangrove swamps and sandy/mud areas from the shore to depths of 150 m. Juveniles are found in nearshore and estuarine waters.


A protogynous hermaphrodite with sex change from female to male occurring during the life cycle. males do not attain sexual maturity until the grow to 114 cm in length.


The Blackspotted Rockcod is often misidentified as the Greasy Rockcod, Epinephelus tauvina.

Species Citation

Holocentrus malabaricus Bloch & Schneider 1801, Systema Ichthyologiae: 319. Type locality: Tranquebar, India.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Blackspotted Rockcod, Epinephelus malabaricus (Bloch & Schneider 1801)


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

Bloch, M.E. & Schneider, J.G. 1801. Systema Ichthyologiae Iconibus ex Illustratum. Berlin 584 pp. 110 pls. 

Cornish, A. (Grouper & Wrasse Specialist Group). 2006. Epinephelus malabaricus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006: e.T61338A12463955. Downloaded on 01 August 2018.

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. 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. 

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. 

Macleay, W.J. 1883. Notes on a collection of fishes from the Burdekin and Mary Rivers, Queensland. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 8(2): 199-213 (as Serranus estuarius

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. & Ben Tuvia, A. 1983. A review of the groupers (Pisces : Serranidae) of the Red Sea, with description of a new species of Cephalopholis. Bulletin of Marine Science 33(2): 373-426 figs 1-27 

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 

Sadovy, Y., Donaldson, T.J., Graham, T.R., McGilvray, F., Muldoon, G.J., Phillips, M.J., Rimmer, M.A., Smith, A. & Yeeting, B. 2003. While Stocks Last: the Live Reef Food Fish Trade. Asian Development Bank, Manila, Philippines. 147 pp.  

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

Sheaves, M.J. 1995. Large lutjanid and serranid fishes in tropical estuaries: Are they adults or juveniles? Marine Ecology Progress Series 129(1-3): 31-40.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311150


Conservation:IUCN Near Threatened

Depth:1-150 m

Fishing:Commercial/recreational fish

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map