Epinephelus macrospilos

Snubnose grouper EEM
Characteristic features:

Head and body pale greyish-brown with dark brown, diffuse edged spots; spots become smaller, more numerous and closer together with increasing size, pale interspace forming a reticulum; median and pelvic fins with similar spots, pectoral fins with few dark spots at base base, and caudal-fin margin with distinct white posterior.


Up to 43 cm TL.


Indo–West Pacific in tropical waters.


Coral reefs, from 3 to 45 m depth.

Indonesian fisheries:

Caught with hook-and-line, spear and traps.

Similar species:

Epinephelus faveatus
Indian grouper

Epinephelus faveatus

Epinephelus faveatus differs in having 16–18 dorsal-fin rays (vs. 15–17); 2 oblique bands on sides of chest (vs. chest and pectoral-fin base with dark spots) and pectoral fins pale (vs. rear half of pectoral fins dark).

Epinephelus hexagonatus
Starspotted grouper

Epinephelus hexagonatus

Epinephelus hexagonatus differs in having the head and body with brownish polygonal spots that merge to leave white triangular dots between corners of polygons (vs. head and body with brownish, round or polygonal, close-set spots that do not merge); pectoral fins with brown and white spots (vs. pectoral fins dusky with a narrow white edge) and gill rakers on lower limb of first gill arch 17–19 (vs. 14–17).

Epinephelus melanostigma
Blackspot grouper

Epinephelus melanostigma

Epinephelus melanostigma differs in having a large, single black blotch at mid dorsal fin, covering the base of 3 dorsal-fin spines and extending onto body (vs. no distinctly large black blotch along dorsal fin, only polygonal spots the same size as surrounding spots).

Epinephelus merra
Honeycomb grouper

Epinephelus merra feature

Epinephelus merra differs in having pectoral fins with distinct small black spots (vs. usually dusky, no spots).

Epinephelus quoyanus
Longfin grouper

Epinephelus quoyanus feature

Epinephelus quoyanus differs in having pectoral fins large, 1.2–1.7 times in head length (vs. short, 1.5–2.0 in head length) 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. large black spots, much larger than nostril on snout) and a caudal peduncle narrow, its depth 3.5–4.1 times in head length (vs. deep, its depth 3.2–2.7 in head length).

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