Epinephelus ongus (Bloch, 1790)
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Epinephelus ongus (Bloch, 1790)

Genus: ,

Scientific Name: Epinephelus ongus

English Name: White-streaked grouper

Creole Name: Vyey avril

French Name: Mérou à flocons

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)

Description:

Dorsal spines: 11; Dorsal rays: 14-16; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 8.

Body grey to brown with irregular pale blotches and numerous small white spots which, as fish grow, become horizontally elongate and in adults tend to form wavy lines. Juveniles are dark brown covered in white spots. Head is brown with numerous small white spots behind the eyes. Posterior nostril approximately twice the diameter of the anterior. Maxilla reaches to or slightly past vertical at rear edge of eye and often obscures the dark maxillary streak. Median fins with small white spots. Dark submarginal band on the dorsal, anal and caudal fins. Caudal fin rounded. 


Size:

Maturity: Lm unknown. Range 16 - ?cm. Max Length: 40cm TL. 


Habitat and Ecology:

Inhabits inner coastal and lagoon coral reefs (depth 20-60m). Feeds on crustaceans and small fish. Cryptic and solitary species. In Seychelles this species is known for its former large spawning aggregation that occurred off the North east coast of the principle island of Mahe. This aggregation occurred each April, hence the local Creole name for the species “Vyey avril” (see Notes).


Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is caught in the hand line and trap fisheries but is now very scarce compared to its former abundance (see Notes). 


Notes:

The White-streaked grouper (Epinephelus ongus) is known locally as Vyey Avril because it formally constituted an important seasonal fishery off the east coast of Mahé. Each April the grouper would gather in huge numbers on the reefs along North east coast of Mahé to spawn (this in depths much more shallow than the typical range of 20-60m). Boats could be seen lining up along the coast to catch the fish that teemed in the shallow waters. A particular technique was used to handle the fish which was known to go off quickly. The boats would partially flood themselves so that hooked fish could be released into sea water in the bottom of the boat and kept alive until landing thereby ensuring their good quality at arrival to market. Interviews in the recent preparation and early stages of a fishery threatened species project indicate that fishers believe this fishery collapsed as a direct consequence of the spawning grounds being destroyed by the east coast reclamation. It should be noted, however, that Robinson et al 2004 record that anecdotal accounts at that time indicated the fishery had collapsed before the reclamation due to over fishing.  

E. summana is similar to E. ongus, it differs in having shorter pectoral fins, shorter pelvic fins and the posterior nostril of adults is vertically elongated. The white edged black margin on the median fins of E. ongus is poorly developed or absent in E. summana. The occurrence of E. summana in Seychelles waters is questionable however, and if it does occur it is a very rare component of the fishery catch (See Epinephelus summana).


References:

Dianne J. Bray, Epinephelus ongus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 06 Mar 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4500

Craig, M.T. et al (2011). Groupers of the World - a field and market guide. NISC (Pty) Ltd, South Africa. ISBN: 978-1-920033-11-8

Froese, R. & D. Pauly. Eds. 2018. FishBase.  https://www.fishbase.de/summary/Epinephelus-ongus (05/03/19).

Rhodes, K. 2018. Epinephelus ongus. The IUCN Red List 2018: e.T132804A100553037. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T132804A100553037.en. (05/03/19).

Robinson, J. et al (2004). Spatial and temporal distribution of reef fish spawning aggregations in the Seychelles – An interview-based survey of artisanal fishers. Western Indian Ocean J. Mar. Sci. 3: 63-69.


Citation:

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