Flowery Rockcod, Epinephelus fuscoguttatus (Forsskål 1775)

Other Names: Black Rock-cod, Brownmarbled Grouper, Brown-marbled Grouper, Carpet Cod, Flower Cod, Flower-cod, Flowery Cod

A Flowery Rockcod, Epinephelus fuscoguttatus, on the Ribbon Reefs, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, July 1999. Source: Erik Schlogl / iNaturalist.org. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A large pale yellowish-brown grouper covered in small close-set brown spots, five vertical series of irregular dark brown blotches, and a small black saddle on top of the caudal peduncle. 

Grey reef Sharks attacking spawning Flowery Grouper (aka Marbled Grouper) in French Polynesia.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Epinephelus fuscoguttatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4670

Flowery Rockcod, Epinephelus fuscoguttatus (Forsskål 1775)

More Info


Kendrew Island, Western Australia, to One Tree Island, Queensland, including Hibernia Reef in the Timor Sea; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, and the Lord Howe Island region in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Indo-west-central Pacific. Inhabits lagoon pinnacles, channels, and outer reef slopes in clear coral-rich areas. Juveniles occur in seagrass beds.


Dorsal fin XI, 14-15; Anal fin III, 8.
Body moderately deep, greatest depth 2.6-2.9 in SL; head length 2.3-2.5 times in SL; interorbital flat or slightly concave; dorsal head profile of adults indented at eyes and distinctly convex from there to origin of dorsal fin; preopercle rounded, finely serrate; upper edge of operculum distinctly convex, descending almost vertically to rear end of operculum; anterior edge of preorbital bone deeply indented below nostrils; posterior nostrils triangular, 4-7 times larger than anterior nostrils in adults; maxilla extending well posterior to eye' Lower jaw with 3-4 rows of teeth on midlateral part, inner teeth twice as long as outer teeth; canines inconspicuous. Scales in adults mostly cycloid, ctenoid in juveniles; body with auxiliary scales.


Body pale yellowish-brown with five vertical series of irregular dark brown blotches; head, body and fins with numerous close-set, small brown spots; caudal peduncle with small black saddle dorsally. Small juveniles (<8 cm) have small hexagonal spots on the head and body that becoming larger posteriorly and on vertical fins. 


Forms spawning aggregations. 


The species is heavily fished in parts of its range.

Species Citation

Perca summana fuscoguttata Forsskål 1775, Descriptiones Animalium: 42. Type locality: Jeddah, Red Sea.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Flowery Rockcod, Epinephelus fuscoguttatus (Forsskål 1775)


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

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Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21 

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. 

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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. 

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311021


Conservation:IUCN Near Threatened

Danger:May cause ciguatera

Depth:1-60 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:120 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map