Epinephelus merra

Honeycomb grouper EER
Characteristic features:

Head body and fins pale, entierly covered in a network of close-set dark brown or reddish brown spots; pale interspaces froming a reticulum; small spots on outer pectoral fin confined to fin rays, and hind fins with small dark spots.


Up to 32 cm TL.


Indo-West Pacific in tropical waters.


Coral reefs, from the surface to 50 m depth.

Indonesian fisheries:

Caught with handlines, fish traps, and spear.

Similar species:

Epinephelus faveatus
Indian grouper

Epinephelus faveatus

Epinephelus faveatus differs in having spots on pectoral fin spots almost subequal with those on the body (vs. distinctly smaller than spots on body) and 2 oblique bands on sides of chest (vs. no dark bands on chest).

Epinephelus hexagonatus
Starspotted grouper

Epinephelus hexagonatus

Epinephelus hexagonatus differs in having brownish polygonal spots that merge to leave conspicuous white triangular dots between corners of polygons (vs. brownish close-set polygonal spots that do not merge) and 3 black blotches on dorsal-fin base, and 1 on caudal peduncle (vs. no black blotches on dorsal surface).

Epinephelus macrospilos
Snubnose grouper

Epinephelus macrospilos

Epinephelus macrospilos differs in having pectoral fins usually dusky (vs. with distinct small black spots).

Epinephelus melanostigma
Blackspot grouper

Epinephelus melanostigma

Epinephelus melanostigma differs in having larger black spots, covering entire pectoral fin (vs. pectoral fins with distinct small black spots, largely confined to fin rays (vs. a large, single black blotch at mid dorsal fin, covering the base of 3 dorsal-fin spines and extending onto body); no distinct large black blotch along dorsal fin) and 2nd anal-fin spine shorter than caudal peduncle depth (vs. subequal to third and much longer than the depth of caudal peduncle).

Epinephelus quoyanus
Longfin grouper

Epinephelus quoyanus feature

Epinephelus quoyanus differs in having a dorsal fin with 16–18 soft rays (vs. 15–17) and 2 oblique bands on sides of chest (vs. no dark bands on chest).

Epinephelus spilotoceps
Foursaddle grouper

Epinephelus spilotoceps feature

Epinephelus spilotoceps differs in having small black spots, the size of nostrils on the snout (vs. black spots larger than nostril, on snout) and 3 black blotches along dorsal-fin base and 1 at caudal peduncle (vs. black dorsal blotches never present).

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