Red Hind – Detail Page

Red hind (Epinephelus guttatus) Photo credit Hans Leijnse: SHAPE/DCNA

English Name: Red Hind

Scientific Name: Epinephelus guttatus

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Serranidae (Groupers and Sea basses)

Genus: Epinephelus

Other Names: Purunchi (Papiamentu), Strawberry Grouper, Speckled Hind, Rock Hind (however the Rock Hind (Epinephelus ascensions) is actually a close relative), Deady.

 

Conservation Status: 

  • IUCN Red List: classified as Least Concern.
  • CITES: not listed.
  • SPAW: not listed.

Island Status:

  • Common in the waters of all six Dutch Caribbean islands.

Description

The Red Hind has an average length of 40 cm (~15.7″), with a maximum of 75 cm (~29.5″). It can weight up to 25 kg (~55.1 lbs). It has a stout body with soft dorsal, anal and caudal fins and a large mouth. The coloring varies greatly from pink to reddish to greenish-grey. The body, head and fins are covered with dark red-brown spots. The underparts are typically paler.

Distinct features: 1) unlike its close relative the Rock Hind (Epinephelus adscensionis), it has no dark splotches on the tail or the dorsal fin; and 2) the dorsal and anal fins have a broad black margin.

Life History

The Red Hind is a predator species preying on fish, squid, crabs, and shrimp. They hide in holes and ambush their prey, lunging at it. They then suck it in and swallow it whole. They feed alone, primarily at dawn and dusk.

This hind reaches sexual maturity at three years of age. In the Caribbean, it mates from December to April. The spawning season is from March to July. Males and females gather into large spawning aggregations and release sperm and eggs in the water column. 90,000 to 3 million pelagic eggs are released. The inseminated eggs hatch after 27 days, then drift for about a month in the larvae stage until they settle onto the ocean floor into “nurseries”. The life expectancy of this species is 17 years.

Habitat: 
They reside on shallow coral reefs and rocky bottoms (depths of 2 to 100 m [~ 6.6 to 328 ft); nurseries in patch reefs and seagress beds.

Distribution: 
You can find them in tropical and subtropical waters of the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, the West Indies and the western Atlantic ocean from North Caroline to Venezuela.

Local Research and Conservation Efforts

None so far as the population of the Red Hind is healthy. Red Hinds are offered protection within the marine protected areas of the Dutch Caribbean islands.

Did You Know?

  • Red Hinds spend most of their day resting or swimming slowly; they are most active at dusk and dawn.
  • Red Hinds are well camouflaged thanks to all the spots that cover their body.
  • Red Hinds are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that they are born female and at some point change into males. Larger fish are typically males.
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