Red Barred Rock Cod – Facts and Photographs

Juvenile red barred rock cod epinephelus fasciatus on Kankadya reef dar es salaam

The red barred rock cod Epinephelus fasciatus is also known as the black tipped rock cod, red barred grouper, red banded grouper and the football grouper.

APPEARANCE

The red barred rock cod has a fairly typical grouper shape, slightly less robust than the normal grouper and as with other groupers can lighten or darken its coloration depending on its mood. It’s typical coloration is a whitish background with six red vertical bars and at times a red patch on the head, with a green line above the eyes. The tips of the membrane between the dorsal fins towards the head are a black color which gives it its local name of black tipped rock cod, in some areas of the world. When stressed it  can darken its color to a more uniform reddish color.Their maximum size is between 35 to 40 cm in length although 25 to 30 cm is more common.

Red Barred Rock Cod Epinephelus fasciatus

IN THE WILD

Red barred rock cod are usually fairly shy fish when it comes to divers and will usually quickly swim away and hide but on occasion they can do the exact opposite and swim towards a diver, possibly territorial behavior by a male hoping to drive you out of his territory.

HABITAT

They are found on the east coast of Africa from Durban in the south to the red sea, eastwards to the mid pacific including most islands.  They are typically found on exposed reefs at depths below 15 meters but can also be found in protected bays and estuary’s in shallower water.

Juvenile red barred rock cod epinephelus fasciatus on Kankadya reef dar es salaam

DIET

The main diet of the red barred rock cod is small fishes, octopus and crustaceans, however given they are regularly caught by fishermen, they scavenge as well. They are ambush predators who vary their diet according to location and availability and pretty much anything moving that can fit into their mouths they will have a go at.

Adult red barred rock cod epinephelus fasciatus

REPRODUCTION

Little seems known about the breeding behavior of these fish, there are conflicting views on how this occurs.

Red Barred Rock Cod Epinephelus fasciatus on Mafia Island

 

COMMERCIAL EXPLOITATION

The red banded rock cod is fished commercially and in most areas of the Tanzanian coast is heavily over fished. They are a common table fish in Mauritius where they are considered a delicacy.

CLASSIFICATION

Kingdom:       Animalia
Phylum:         Chordata
Class:             Actinopterygii
Order:            Perciformes
Family:          Serranidae
Genus:           Epinephelus
Species:         E. fasciatus

LITERATURE CITED

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blacktip_grouper

Blacktip Rockcod, Epinephelus fasciatus (Forsskål, 1775) – Australian Museum

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292. – See more at: http://australianmuseum.net.au/blacktip-rockcod-epinephelus-fasciatus-forsskal-1775#sthash.YALz8Bx9.dpuf
Heemstra, P.C. and 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.
EQUIPMENT USED

Canon 7D

Ikelite 7D Housing

Twin Ikelite DS 161 Strobes

Flat Ikelite Lens Port

Ikelite Dual Synch Cord 

Ikelite 5.1 inch Port body

IMAGES

Red Barred Rock Cod Epinephelus fasciatus

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