DistributionRead full entry
Range DescriptionEpinephelus coioides occurs in the Red Sea south to at least Durban (South Africa), eastwards to Palau and Fiji, north to the Ryukyu Islands (Japan), and south to the Arafura Sea and Australia (Heemstra and Randall 1993). It has also migrated through the Suez Canal to the eastern Mediterranean (Randall 1995). Its extent of occurrence and area of occupancy are unknown. This species is also frequently misidentified as E. malabaricus or E. tauvina in aquaculture and fisheries literature (Heemstra and Randall 1993).
A spawning aggregation of E. coioides has been reported from Papua New Guinea where 1,000 to 5,000 fish congregate in the muddy/sandy bottom of a large shallow bay for three to four days in every month of the year. At night, the fish sleep partially buried in the mud and have been targeted by local fishers for generations. Fish are speared from a canoe with a hand held spear at night using light lamp to locate them. Fishers report that 30 to 40 years ago they could take between 200 and 500 fish in a night, whereas today (2003) they catch between 50 and 100 fish in a night, a decline of 50% (Hamilton 2003).
E. coioides has also been reported to form mixed spawning aggregations with Epinephelus malabaricus in a bay in New Caledonia (M. Kulbicki, pers. comm.).