Epinephelus merra (Bloch, 1793)
Epinephelus merra (Bloch, 1793)
Genus: , ,

Scientific Name: Epinephelus merra

English Name: Honeycomb grouper

Creole Name: Vyey zourit

French Name: Mérou gâteau de cire

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines: 11; Dorsal rays: 15-17; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 8.

A small, moderately full-bodied, grouper. Dorsal head profile convex. Flat interorbital area. Posterior and anterior nostrils are subequal or posterior nostrils larger. 
Maxilla reaches past vertical at rear edge of eye. Midlateral part of lower jaw with 2 to 4 rows of teeth, the inner teeth about twice the length of outer teeth. Rounded or 
subangular preopercle, serrae at angle enlarged. Operculum with upper edge almost straight. Rounded caudal fin.

Colour. Head, body and fins pale, covered with close set dark brown or reddish brown polygonal spots the interspaces forming an irregular pale reticulum giving the species 
its “honeycomb” common name. Spots on the ventral part of the body pale, more widely spaced and diffuse in outline. A series of about five darker diagonal bands, two to five 
polygons wide, occur on the body, the anterior most radiating from the eye. Dark spots on median fins become smaller towards the fin margin. Tips of interspinous dorsal fin 
membranes white or pale yellow with small sub-marginal dark patch. Pectoral fins covered with distinct brown spots.


Maturity: Lm unknown. Range 19- ? cm. Max Length: 32 cm TL.

Habitat and Ecology:

Inhabits coastal and offshore coral reefs (depth 0-50 m but typically less than 20 m). Favours shallow lagoons and semi-protected seaward reefs. Juveniles are common in 
thickets of staghorn corals of the genus acropora. Feeds on fishes and small invertebrates. A protogynous hermaphrodite with changing from female to male at 3 to 5 years. 
Solitary. Forms spawning aggregations outside home reef.

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is caught occasionally in the fish trap fishery, but more commonly it is caught in nets that are illegally 
dragged over the reefs/reef flats.  


It shares its creole name with E. spilotoceps. The name reflects that fishers state where this fish is found an octopus ("zourit") will be found nearby.


Bray, D.J. Epinephelus merra in Fishes of Australia, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3848 (05/03/19). 
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.) (2019). FishBase. https://www.fishbase.se/summary/4923 (05/03/19).
Law, C. et al. (2018). Epinephelus merra. The IUCN Red List 2018: http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T132788A100551598.en. (05/03/19)


Nevill, J.E.G. (2019). Epinephelus merra, Honeycomb grouper. Seychelles Seatizens. www.seatizens.sc. https://seatizens.sc/species/epinephelus-merra-bloch-1793/ (revised 20/07/22).  

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