Spotted Cabrilla

Spotted Cabrilla, Epinephelus analogus

The Spotted Cabrilla, Epinephelus analogus, whose common Spanish name is Cabrilla Pinta and who is known locally as Cabrilla, is a member of the Grouper or Epinephelidae Family, known collectively known as “Cabrillas” and “Garropas” in Mexico.

The Spotted Cabrillas have pale, tan to grayish-white, elongated, and robust bodies covered with numerous circular brown spots that are smaller on their head and fins; they have four indistinct dark bars on the upper half of their sides. They have eleven dorsal spines and eight pectoral rays, which are keys to identification. Their caudal fin is rounded.

The Spotted Cabrillas are found both in rocky reefs and in shallow estuaries at depths up to 350 feet. They reach a maximum length of 114 cm (45 inches) and weight of 22.3 kg (49 pounds). They are voracious predators feeding on crustaceans at night and small fish during the day. They are found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific.

The Spotted Cabrilla can be confused with the juvenile Pacific Goliath Grouper, Epinephelus quinquefasciatus (ten dorsal spines).

The Spotted Cabrillas are an excellent food fish and in high demand. This has resulted in decades of extensive overfishing, primarily in the central Sea of Cortez. Due to their slow reproductive and growth rates, they have virtually disappeared.

Spotted Cabrilla, Epinephelus analogus: Provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, June 2011. Length 32 cm (12.5 inches).
Spotted Cabrilla, Epinephelus analogus: Provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, June 2011. Length: 32 cm (13 inches).
Spotted Cabrilla, Epinephelus analogus: Fish caught in Bahia San Rafael, Baja Calfornia Norte, June 2014. Photo courtesy of Chris Weaton.
Spotted Cabrilla, Epinephelus analogus: Fish caught in Bahia San Rafael, Baja Calfornia Norte, June 2014. Length: 35 cm (14 inches). Photo courtesy of Chris Weaton.