Epinephelus marginatus – Dusky Grouper Profile

epinephelus marginatus
(Last Updated On: April 13, 2021)

Epinephelus marginatus, also called the dusky grouper, yellowbelly grouper, or the yellowbelly rock cod is the most popular grouper by its name reside in the Mediterranean Sea and North Africa coast.


Epinephelus marginatus is a very large, ovarian and cerebral fish with a broad mouth, with lower jaws head and upper body being dark brown or gray in color, usually with gold-colored countershading on the ventral surfaces.

The base color is characterized by a vertical series of irregular pale greenish-yellow or silver-gray or whitish white, which is usually evident on the body and head.

The black maxillary line changes in its markings; Dark brown median fin; The distal ends of the rectum and anatomical wings, and often the slender white terminal bands of the feathers; Pelvic wings are black towards their tips while the pectoral fins are dark reddish-brown or gray.

The marginal portion of the spiny dorsal fin and the basal part of the pectoral fin often has a golden yellow color. The dorsal fin has eleven spines and 13-16 soft rays. This species can grow up to 150 cm in length but is often 90 cm.


Epinephelus marginatus has two isolated distribution centers, one of which extends from the southern coast of Iberia along the west coast of Iberia to the southwestern Indian Ocean to the east, Madagascar to the south, and Mozambique, possibly with suspicious records in Oman. It is also found throughout the Mediterranean.

The second population occurs in the southwestern Atlantic on the coast of South America in southern Brazil, Uruguay, and northern Argentina.

In the eastern Atlantic, it is generally not found much further north than Portugal, but there is a very rare record from the Gulf of Biscay and the English Channel as far north as France, Great Britain, and Ireland.


Epinephelus marginatus is found in and around rocky rocks at depths of about 300 m above the surface waters, usually surface waters. It often occurs in the vicinity of the bedside in the seagrass of Poseidonia.

Minors are usually found on the shore more than adult fish, even in rock pools. Where they are protected, both in the marine nature reserve and in taking a zone, both adults and adolescents are seen in shallow water, but the depths at which juveniles are found are always shallower than the depth of choice of adults.


Epinephelus marginatus predominates in desolate and regional, stone-layered zones, but both adults and adolescents will enter shallow water, as in sediments.

Their main foods are molluscs, crustaceans, and octopi, but as they grow older, other fish form an increasingly important part of their diet, as well as reef fishes.

Epinephelus marginatus is a proteogynous hermaphrodite, meaning that all fish begin the life of adulthood as wives, but as they get older and older, they grow to male size.

They attain sexual maturity at an early age, at about the age of five the wives begin to breed, and then in their 9th and 16th years they change into males, usually, at the age of 12, the fish begins to transform into males, though a 65 cm in length.

Most genders change when they are between 80 and 90 cm in total length. The presence of large fish in some populations suggests that not all females change gender. Small clusters of individuals, such as decades in the breeding season, are formed at specific spawning sites, an exception to their lonely existence.

Epinephelus marginatus traditionally known for gathering in Spain include the Marine Reserve of the Mediterranean Islands of Spain, Lampedusa, Italy, and Port-Cross National Park in France, all of the Mediterranean; Brazilian fishermen suspect that they have been found on the shores of Santa Catarina but none have been found so far.

Spanning in the Mediterranean lasts from June to September, with mating polygamy and spang clusters usually having seven females for each male.

The marginatus of the Brazi reproduce in early summer between November and December. When developing, dominant males establish territories and aggressively protect them from neighboring males and young females. They are said to live up to 50 years.

Epinephelus marginatus


Epinephelus marginatus is a popular food caught by fish and commercial fishermen throughout its range when adult fish of adults are identified as trophies by spear-fishing and are easily carried by anchors.

The slow growth rate of this species and its specific reproductive system make it vulnerable to over-exploitation, for example by the spear fishers further targeting the sex ratio of older males and affecting reproductive productivity.

In Italy aquaculture has been tried for its growth and reproduction.

In some countries, the bitch grouper is considered as a taste. Referring to his choice of guests at the restaurant, the Spaniards said ‘de la mar el mero ya de la tierra el carnaro’ (dark grouper from the sea, lamb from the ground).


E marginatus has been detected in seven countries between 8-27%, making it an important part of its overall distribution. In other regions, such as in West Africa, where this species is widely exploited, little is known about the location of these fish.

For these reasons, the International Nature Conservation Union evaluated E. marginatus as vulnerable, and where mitigating factors persist, citing a suspicious reduction of population size by more than 50% over the past three generations.

The conservation system includes the ban on spearfishing in France and the South African bag limit for ten years. In addition, several marine protected areas have been established to protect the habitat of E. marginatus.

The proposed measures in Turkey include any occupation of the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts and a total fishing ban for a minimum of 3-5 years.

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