Plectropomus laevis (Lacepède, 1801)
Plectropomus laevis (Lacepède, 1801)
Genus: , ,

Scientific Name: Plectropomus laevis

English Name: Blacksaddled coralgrouper

Creole Name: Red form: Babonn zannannan. Yellow form: Babonn sesil/Babonn zonn. Dark brown/purple form: Babonn kwizinyen

French Name: Mérou sellé

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines 7-8; Dorsal rays 10-12; Anal spines 3; Anal rays: 8.

Large robust grouper with elongate body 3-4 times as long as deep. Snout somewhat pointed. Nostrils subequal, set in a shallow groove running from eye. Lower jaw 
projects beyond upper. Posterior edge of maxilla reaching or nearly reaching vertical below posterior edge of eye. Canines apparent at front of upper and lower jaw. Midlateral 
part of upper jaw with 1 to 4 enlarged fixed canines. Preopercle broadly rounded, with 3 large, ventrally-directed spines along lower half. Opercle with 3 flat spines, the 
upper and lower spines covered by skin. first 1 or 2 anal spines embedded and difficult to discern in large specimens. Caudal fin emarginate. 

Colour. Occurs in two distinct colour forms. The pale black-saddled form is whitish or pale yellowish with 5 dorsolateral dark brown to black saddles or wedge-shaped bars. 
Small dark-edged blue spots may be visible on the body particularly inside the “saddle” edges. Snout, jaws, fins and caudal peduncle are yellow. The dark form is red, 
brown/dark purple or blackish red with numerous dark-edged blue spots on head, back, flanks (not ventrally) and dorsal rays, caudal, anal and pectoral fins. Pectoral fins dark 
distally. The saddles fade in the dark form and may be difficult to perceive.


Maturity: Lm unknown, range 60 - ? cm. Max length: 125 cm TL.

Habitat and Ecology:

Coral reef dwelling species favouring outer coral reefs and reef slopes from 4-100 m depth. Young specimens occupy lagoons, shallow reefs and reef rubble.

Adults feed on fish including large reef fish and groupers and crustacea. The young feed on small fish and invertebrates such as crustaceans and squid.The Blacksaddled grouper
is a protogynous hermaphrodite males developing from the transition of mature females. It grows relatively quickly reaching 50 cm in less than 4 years. Similar growth rates 
have been recorded from individuals taken from the Western Indian Ocean (Grandcourt 2005). Groupers typically spawn as a female for one or more years, before transitioning to
a male. 

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. There is very strong anecdotal evidence to indicate a marked decline in its abundance on the 
Mahe Plateau over the last 40 years. It is caught in both trap and hand line fisheries, but is an increasingly uncommon component of the catch. It is highly prized for the 
quality of its meat. 


The variation in Creole names reflects the common belief that these are distinct species. Babonn zannannan is for the red form. Babonn zonn/sesil is for the pale form, 
Babonn kwizinyen is for the dark brown to purplish-black form. 


Bray, D.J. (2017). Plectropomus laevis in Fishes of Australia, (07/08/18). 
Choat, J.H. et al. (2018). Plectropomus laevis. The IUCN Red List 2018: (05/03/19).
Craig M.T. et al. (2011). Groupers of the World A Field and Market Guide. ISBN: 979-1-920033-11-8
Froese, R. & D. Pauly. (Eds.) (2018). FishBase. (07/08/18).
Grandcourt, E. (2005). Demographic Characteristics of Selected Epinepheline Groupers (Family: Serranidae; Subfamily: Epinephelinae) from Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles. 
Atoll Research Bulletin No. 539.
Heemstra, P.C. & J.E. Randall, (1993). FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated 
catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date. Rome: FAO. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(16):382 p.
Nevill, J. (2013). A Species Identification Guide for Commonly Caught Fish in the Seychelles Near-Shore Artisanal Fishery. GOS/UNDP/GEF.


Nevill, J.E.G. (2019). Plectropomus laevis, Blacksaddled coralgrouper. Seychelles Seatizens. (revised 08/08/22).

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