Olive Grouper

Olive Grouper, Epinephelus cifuentesi

The Olive Grouper, Epinephelus cifuentesi, whose common Spanish name is Cabrilla Gallina and known locally as Cerduda, Cabrilla and/or Garropa, is a member of the Grouper or Epinephelidae Family, known collectively as “cabrillas” and “garropas” in Mexico.

The Olive Grouper is characterized by its beefy, gray-brown with green, iridescent disproportionally wide body with uniform coloration. The key to identification being that the second of its eleven dorsal spines is the longest. They have a complete lateral line, with a smooth arch, extending into the caudal base. The fins are darker than the body; the anal fin has a strong second spine. The juveniles have a dark line above the jaw.

The Olive Grouper is found within patch reefs that are adjacent to sandy bottoms at depths between 120 and 400 feet. They reach a maximum length of 100 cm (39 inches) and weight up to 9 kg (20 pounds). As a rare relatively deep water species, not much is known about their behavioral patterns.

The Olive Grouper can be confused with the Gulf Coney, Hyporthodus acanthistius (nine dorsal spines, third, fourth and fifth longest, mustache on upper jaw) and the Star-Studded Grouper, Hyporthodus niphobles (eleven dorsal spines, second longest, mustache on upper jaw). The Olive Grouper was unknown in Mexican waters until the collection pictured below. They were known only to the Coco and Galapagos Islands and in the coastal waters of Costa Rica and Ecuador.

The Olive Grouper, although somewhat rare is considered to be an excellent food fish.

 Olive Grouper, Epinephelus cifuentesi: Fish caught out of 150-foot water adjacent to Gordo I, Baja California Sur, March 2006, on a living Red Tuna Crab using traditional bottom rigs. Size: 40 cm (16 inches) and 1 kg (2.2 pounds). Fish identification courtesy of Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama.

Olive Grouper, Epinephelus cifuentesi: Fish caught out of 150-foot water adjacent to Gordo I, Baja California Sur, March 2006, on a living Red Tuna Crab using traditional bottom rigs. Size: 40 cm (16 inches) and 1 kg (2.2 pounds). Fish identification courtesy of Dr. Ross Robertson, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama.