Banded Grouper, Epinephelus amblycephalus (Bleeker 1857)

Other Names: Banded Cod, Blunt-headed Rockcod, Blunt-headed Rock-cod, Small-banded Cod, Yellow-lipped Rock-cod

Banded Grouper, Epinephelus amblycephalus, from Western Australia. Source: Chris Dowling / Flickr. License: All rights reserved

A pale grey grouper with five broad dark bars along the side, a dark saddle on the nape, a yellow mark above the upper jaw, and yellow margins on the dorsal and caudal fins.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Epinephelus amblycephalus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024,

Banded Grouper, Epinephelus amblycephalus (Bleeker 1857)

More Info


Cape Leveque to north of Shark Bay, Western Australia, and Cape Wessel, Northern Territory. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, east-Indo-west Pacific. Inhabits deep coral and rocky reefs at depths to 150 m.


Dorsal fin XI, 15-16; Anal fin III, 8. 
Body depth less than head length, 2.5-3.0 times in SL; head length 2.1-2.4 times in SL; rounded preopercle, 3-6 enlarged serrae at the angle; upper edge of operculum slightly convex; nostrils subequal or posterior nostril larger than anterior; scaly maxilla, reaching about vertical at rear edge of eye; 2 rows of teeth at midside of lower jaw; pectoral and pelvic fin length are equal, 1.7-2.3 times in head length; rounded caudal fin; ctenoid lateral body scales, few auxiliary scales in adults.


Pale grey with 5 broad dark brown bars, first 2 extending into the spinous part of dorsal fin, 3rd and 4th bars extending into the soft dorsal and anal fins, 5th dark bar at the base of the caudal fin; edges of dorsal parts of body bars with small black spots; nape with dark brown saddle blotch, small black spots mainly along edge of the blotch; cheeks, snout, interorbital area, jaws and chest mostly dark brown, with 2-3 white bands radiating from the eye; irregular black bar on the middle of the caudal fin; yellow maxillary groove.

Species Citation

Serranus amblycephalus Bleeker 1857, Acta Societatis Scientiarum Indo-Neerlandicae 2: 32. Type locality: Ambon, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Banded Grouper, Epinephelus amblycephalus (Bleeker 1857)


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

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. 1857. Achtste bijdrage tot de kennis der vischfauna van Amboina. Acta Societatis Scientiarum Indo-Neerlandicae 2: 1-102 

Bleeker, P. 1865. Enumération des espèces de poissons actuellement connues de l'île d'Amboine. Nederlandsch Tijdschrift voor de Dierkunde 2: 270-293 

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. 

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 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. Checklist of the fishes of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 63: 9-50

Ma, K.Y. & Craig, M.T. 2018. An Inconvenient Monophyly: An Update on the Taxonomy of the Groupers (Epinephelidae). Copeia 106(3): 443–456.  

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 

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle 6(1): 69-84.

Russell, B. & Myers, R. 2008. Epinephelus amblycephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T132812A3458058. Downloaded on 03 January 2016.

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.

Tseng, W.Y. & Chan, K.F. 1985. On the larval rearing of the white-spotted grouper, Epinehelus amblycephalus (Bleeker), with a description of larval development. Journal of World Mariculture 16: 114-126.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311015


Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Depth:50-150 m

Fishing:Recreational fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:50 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map