Tag: Brown-Barred Grouper (Cephalopholis boenak)

The Brown-Barred Grouper (Cephalopholis Boenak) is one of the most abundant species of Grouper in local waters, found in equally large numbers at the deeper offshore sites such as Sail Rock as it is at shallower inshore reefs like Mae Haad/Koh Ma, Koh Phangan.

Growing to a maximum length of around 30cm, the Brown-Barred Grouper is easily identified by it's overall pale-dark brown/olive green colouration with 7 - 8 vertical brown bars along the body from behind the operculum (gill cover) to the caudal peduncle.

There are also dark brown markings on the head which radiate out from the eye.

The anal, dorsal and caudal fins all have a distinctive, thin white margin with a broader dark sub-margin.

The remaining area on these three fins is usually a dusky yellow colour which when flared out, form a wedge shape that tapers towards the tail.

Unlike many Grouper species, juvenile Brown-Barred Groupers resemble the adults closely enough to make identification easy, with only a couple of minor differences.

Many, although not all, juveniles exhibit a distinctive yellow area covering around 30% of the posterior section of the body (the remnants of which most likely make up the yellow markings on the fins of many adults).

They often have a very distinctive pale, almost white, band running from the chin to the beginning of the dorsal fin. This band also fades as the fish matures.

Along with the Black-Tipped (Epinephelus fasciatus) and Longfin (Epinephelus quoyanus) Groupers, the Brown-Barred Grouper is one of the easiest species to observe and photograph, an opportunity rarely taken due mainly to the species' relatively drab appearance.

The Brown-Barred Grouper (Cephalopholis Boenak) is one of the most abundant species of Grouper in local waters, found in equally large numbers at the deeper offshore sites such as Sail Rock as it is at shallower inshore reefs like Mae Haad/Koh Ma, Koh Phangan.

Growing to a maximum length of around 30cm, the Brown-Barred Grouper is easily identified by it's overall pale-dark brown/olive green colouration with 7 - 8 vertical brown bars along the body from behind the operculum (gill cover) to the caudal peduncle.

There are also dark brown markings on the head which radiate out from the eye.

The anal, dorsal and caudal fins all have a distinctive, thin white margin with a broader dark sub-margin.

The remaining area on these three fins is usually a dusky yellow colour which when flared out, form a wedge shape that tapers towards the tail.

Unlike many Grouper species, juvenile Brown-Barred Groupers resemble the adults closely enough to make identification easy, with only a couple of minor differences.

Many, although not all, juveniles exhibit a distinctive yellow area covering around 30% of the posterior section of the body (the remnants of which most likely make up the yellow markings on the fins of many adults).

They often have a very distinctive pale, almost white, band running from the chin to the beginning of the dorsal fin. This band also fades as the fish matures.

Along with the Black-Tipped (Epinephelus fasciatus) and Longfin (Epinephelus quoyanus) Groupers, the Brown-Barred Grouper is one of the easiest species to observe and photograph, an opportunity rarely taken due mainly to the species' relatively drab appearance.

Alan's picture
Brown-Barred Grouper (Cephalopholis boenak)

Another photo of a Brown-Barred Grouper (Cephalopholis boenak) resting amongst some Hairy Mushroom Anemones (Rhodac

Alan's picture
Brown-Barred Grouper (Cephalopholis boenak)

A Brown-Barred Grouper (Cephalopholis boenak) resting amongst some Hairy Mushroom Anemones (Rhodactis indosinensis) at

Alan's picture
Brown-Barred Grouper juvenile (Cephalopholis boenak)

A juvenile Brown-Barred Grouper (Cephalopholis boenak) showing the distinctive yellow area which is common, but not always present on juveniles of the species.