Identification: Commonly misspelled as Cromileptes.
The genus Chromileptes contains only one species, the panther grouper Chromileptes altivelis. Molecular taxonomists have recently subsumed Chromileptes into Epinephelus (Ma and Craig 2018); however, this designation has not yet been widely applied. The body is distinctly spotted (dark spots on a light background). The head profile is unique amongst the groupers, as it is depressed anteriorly and elevated posteriorly, rising sharply at the nape. Pectoral and caudal fins rounded. Dorsal fin X (17-19), anal fin III (9-10), pectoral rays 17-18 (Heemstra and Randall 1993; Randall et al. 1996).
Similar species: Greater soapfish (Rypticus saponaceus) has grey to dark body color, lacks dark body spots. Spotted soapfish (R. subifrenatus) has tan to brown body color and pale borders around dark spots.
References: (click for full references)
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Heemstra, P.C., and J.E. Randall. 1984. Serranidae. In W. Fischer and G. Bianchi (eds.). FAO species identification sheets for fishery purposes. Western Indian Ocean (fishing area 51). Rome, FAO. Vol. IV. 241 p.
Heemstra, P.C., and J.E. Randall. 1986. Serranidae. Pages 509-537 in M.M. Smith, and P.C. Heemstra (eds.). Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.
Heemstra, P.C., and J.E. Randall. 1993. FAO species catalogue volume 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. FAO Fisheries Synopsis, No. 125. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, Italy.
Ma, K.Y., and M.T. Craig. 2018. An inconvenient monophyly: and update on the taxonomy of the groupers (Epinephelidae). Copeia 106: 443-456.
Morris, A.V., C.M. Roberts, and J.P. Hawkins. 2000. The threatened status of groupers (Epinephelinae). Biodiversity and Conservation 9:919-942.
Mundy, B.C. 2005. Checklist of the fishes of the Hawaiian Archipelago. Bishop Museum Bulletin in Zoology 6. Bishop Museum Press, Honolulu, HI.
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Randall, J.E. 1983. Red Sea fishes. IMMEL Publishing, London.
Randall, J.E. 1987. Introductions of marine fishes to the Hawaiian Islands. Bulletin of Marine Science 41:490-502.
Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu, HI.
Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen, and R.C. Steene. 1996. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Second Edition. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, HI.
Randall, J.E., and P.C. Heemstra. 1991. Revision of Indo-Pacific groupers (Perciformes: Serranidae: Epinephelinae), with descriptions of five new species. Indo-Pacific Fishes 20:1-332.
Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF). 2008. Exotic species sighting program and volunteer survey project database, accessed March 10, 2008.
Smith, J.L.B. 1954. Four rare serraniform fishes from East Africa. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 12 7:925-933.
Williams, A.J., C.R. Davies, B.D. Mapstone, L.M .Currey, D.J. Welch, G.A. Begg, A.C. Ballagh, J.H. Choat, C.D. Murchie, and C.A. Simpfendorfer. 2009. Age-based demography of humpback grouper Chromileptes altivelis: implications for fisheries management and conservation. Endangered Species Research 9:67-79.
This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.