Spotted Cabrilla, Epinephelus analogus
The Spotted Cabrilla, Epinephelus analogus, whose common Spanish name is cabrilla pinta, is a species in the family Epinephelidae, the Groupers, known as cabrillas and garropas in Mexico. Globally, there are one hundred species in the genus Epinephelus, of which eleven are found in Mexican waters, six in the Atlantic and five in the Pacific.
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.