Cromileptes altivelis (humpback grouper)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Latitude/Altitude Ranges
- Water Tolerances
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Links to Websites
- Distribution Maps
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IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Cromileptes altivelis (Valenciennes, 1828)
Preferred Common Name
- humpback grouper
Other Scientific Names
- Chromileptes altivelis (Valenciennes, 1828)
- Cromileptis altivales (Valenciennes, 1828)
- Cromileptis altiveles (Valenciennes, 1828)
- Cromileptis altivelis (Valenciennes, 1828)
- Serranus altivelis Valenciennes in Cuv. and Val., 1828
International Common Names
- English: baramundi cod; barramundi cod; barrimundi cod; bleeker's group; flatfish grouper; highfinned grouper; humpback rockcod; hump-back rock-cod; humpback seabass; panther grouper; pantherfish; polkadot grouper; polka-dot grouper; red fish
- Spanish: mero jorobado
- French: grisette; loche truite; loche voile; mérou bossu
Local Common Names
- Australia: Barramundi cod
- China/Hong Kong: lo shu pan
- Germany: Grace Kelly Zackenbarsch
- India: kalava
- Indonesia: gracekelly; kerapu bebek; kerapu tikus; kko; sunu tikus
- Japan: sarasa-hata
- Malaysia: kerapu belida; kerapu sonoh; kerapu sunoh; kerapu tikus; kupin
- Mozambique: garoupa corcunda
- Myanmar: nga-tauk-tu
- New Caledonia: kiriwa; pore
- Palau: meleches
- Papua New Guinea: mwananuya
- Philippines: amidon; badiangon; bulgan; inid; kaltang; kambabalo; kubing; kulapo; kulapo kubing; kurapu; lapu lapu; lapu-lapu; lapu-lapung senorita; lapu-lapung señorita; liglig; mantis; manutsot; mero-mero; milo-milo; milô-milô; miro-miro; muyopuyo; panter; pugapo; sarungsong; señorita; sigapo; soroy; tingag
- Singapore: kerapu tikus; lao shu hou; nuo mi hou
- Solomon Islands: demara; iga piu; sogilo ni kolo
- South Africa: boggel-klipkabeljou
- Thailand: pla karang-naa-ngon
- Tokelau: dhagay
- Vietnam: ca lu heo; cá Mú d?t; ca mu det
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
C. altivelis was listed as ‘VU A4cd’ on the IUCN Red List in February 2007 by the IUCN Groupers and Wrasses Specialist Group (GWSG) in the Global Marine Species Assessment Workshop. It is rare in nature and high priced both in the international ornamental market, and in the live food fish market centrally in Hong Kong and southern China. After introduction of the species into Hawaiian waters more than three decades ago, it has not been known to establish breeding stocks. C. altivelis mariculture remains in a primitive stage of development. From both environmental and biodiversity perspectives, there is a need to move away from depending on wild-caught to hatchery-produced juveniles for grow-out, and from using mixed fish feed to commercial compounded diets in grouper mariculture operations. C. altivelis is a popular aquarium species in the USA and there is a risk that it may become invasive in western Atlantic waters, although no breeding populations had established there as of 2013 (Johnston and Purkis, 2013).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Perciformes
- Suborder: Percoidei
- Family: Serranidae
- Genus: Cromileptes
- Species: Cromileptes altivelis
DescriptionTop of page
Body compressed, the depth less than head length, and contained 2.6 to 3.0 times in standard length (for fish 12 to 37 cm standard length) and 2.5 to 2.9 times (for fish 30 to 57 cm total length) (Ou et al., 1999a); body width contained 2.4 to 2.6 times in the depth. Head length contained 2.5 to 2.8 times in standard length and 2.4 to 2.9 times (for fish 30 to 57 cm total length) (Ou et al., 1999a); dorsal head profile distinctly concave, rising steeply at the nape; preorbital very narrow, its depth contained about 5 times in eye diameter and 30 to 32 times in head length; preopercle finely serrate, the serrae at the angle slightly enlarged, the lower edge smooth; opercle with middle spine inconspicuous, the upper and lower spines rudimentary; posterior nostril a large, crescentic, vertical slit; maxilla extending to below rear half of eye; no step or knob on ventral edge of maxilla; supramaxilla well developed; jaws with bands of villiform teeth; no canines; palatines with teeth. Gill rakers short, 8 to 11 on upper limb, 13 to 17 on lower limb.
Dorsal fin with X  spines and 17 to 19 rays, the fin origin over opercle, the fin membranes not incised between the spines, the posterior spines longest and the soft-rays even longer.
Anal fin with III  spines and 9 or 10 rays; pectoral fins rounded, with 17 or 18 rays; the middle rays longest; pelvic fins with I  spine and 5 rays (Ou et al., 1999a).
Scales on body smooth (the ctenii greatly reduced); lateral line scales 54 to 62; lateral scale series 106 to 122. Pyloric caeca 10-13 (Ou et al., 1999a). Supraneural bones slender, the second more than half length of first; no trisegmental pterygiophores in dorsal or anal fins; rear edge of first dorsal pterygiophore slightly excavated; epipleural ribs on vertebrae 1 to 8; cranium elongate, depressed anteriorly and elevated posteriorly; least interorbital width about 10% of cranium length; postorbital part of cranium elongated, 60% or more of cranium length; supraoccipital crest not extending onto frontals.
Pale greenish brown, with widely-spaced, round, black spots on head, body, and fins; some spots on body and base of median fins overlain by a large dusky blotch. Black spots on juveniles are fewer than on adults and may be as large or larger than eye.
DistributionTop of page
Western Pacific from southern Japan to Palau, Guam, New Caledonia, and southern Queensland (Australia); in the eastern Indian Ocean from the Nicobars to Broome, Western Australia. Reports of Cromileptes from the western Indian Ocean are unsubstantiated; not recorded in the Seychelles (Heemstra and Randall, 1993; Orts, 1993; TNC 2003). Records from the Hawaiian Islands are probably based on released aquarium fishes (Randall and Heemstra, 1991). Records of C. altivelis have also been reported for Yemen (although this is an unreliable record) and for Tonga (J Mihaly, Reef Check, USA, personal communication, 2006). In 2013 it was reported in western Atlantic waters, although it is not thought to have established a breeding population there (Johnston and Purkis, 2013).
Abundance of C. altivelis has shown a decline, according to visual census in its natural habitat that may be due to overfishing for live food fish and ornamental markets and habitat loss. The species is naturally rare (Sadovy et al., 2007). C. altivelis prefer sheltered sites such as inner shelf reefs, compared to exposed sites. Fish are often encountered singly or in pairs and sometimes with 3-6 individuals recorded in some sites; it is unknown whether these small groups are reproductive units (Sadovy et al., 2007).
There is limited cultivation of C. altivelis, based on grow-out of wild-caught juveniles, throughout South-East Asia (Sadovy, 2000; Sadovy et al., 2007). Although hatchery production of C. altivelis juveniles from Indonesia has supported a small grow-out industry, it is still at an experimental scale due to the high price of juveniles, slow growth rates and susceptibility to disease (Chan, 2001; Rimmer et al., 2004; M Liu, The Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of Hong Kong, personal communication, 2008). Taiwan and mainland China attempted to produce and culture C. altivelis in captivity, however, with little success (Ou et al., 1999b; Liao et al., 2001; Ou, 2006). In Hong Kong, mariculture of C. altivelis from hatchery-produced juveniles to marketable size is developing from experimental to commercial scale using indoor recirculation culture systems (M Templeton, Marine Culture Technology Limited, Hong Kong, personal communication, 2007; M Liu, The Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of Hong Kong, personal communication, 2008).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Indian Ocean, Eastern||Present||Native||Fishbase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Indian Ocean, Western||Present||Native||Fishbase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Pacific, Northwest||Present||Native||Fishbase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Pacific, Western Central||Present||Native||Fishbase, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|China||Present||Native||Heemstra and Randall, 1993; Huang, 1994; Ou et al., 1999; Froese and Pauly, 2004; Yu et al., 2004|
|-Hong Kong||Present, few occurrences||Native||Not invasive||Ni and Kwok, 1999; Sadovy and Cornish, 2000; Froese and Pauly, 2004||In the eastern waters of Hong Kong. Also recorded by Reef Check (J Mihaly, Reef Check, USA, personal communication, 2006)|
|India||Present||Native||Not invasive||Kapoor et al., 2002; Froese and Pauly, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Indonesia||Present||Native||Not invasive||Heemstra and Randall, 1993; TNC, 2003; Froese and Pauly, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2007||Also recorded by Reef Check (J Mihaly, Reef Check, USA, personal communication, 2006)|
|Japan||Present||Native||Not invasive||Heemstra and Randall, 1993; Froese and Pauly, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2007||Bonin Island and Ryukyu Archipelago. Also recorded by Reef Check (J Mihaly, Reef Check, USA, personal communication, 2006)|
|-Bonin Island||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|-Ryukyu Archipelago||Present||Native||Heemstra and Randall, 1993; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Malaysia||Present||Native||Not invasive||Heemstra and Randall, 1993; Sadovy, 2000; Froese and Pauly, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2007||Also recorded by Reef Check (J Mihaly, Reef Check, USA, personal communication, 2006)|
|Philippines||Present||Native||Not invasive||Randall and Heemstra, 1991; Sadovy, 2000; Froese and Pauly, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2007||Also recorded by Reef Check (J Mihaly, Reef Check, USA, personal communication, 2006)|
|Singapore||Present||Native||Not invasive||Heemstra and Randall, 1993; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Taiwan||Present||Native||Not invasive||Heemstra and Randall, 1993; Liao et al., 2001; Froese and Pauly, 2004||Two samples were collected in Chi-lung (121.76E, 25.16N) in 1975|
|Thailand||Present||Native||Not invasive||Heemstra and Randall, 1993; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Vietnam||Present||Native||Not invasive||Sadovy, 2000; Duong, 2001; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Kenya||Present||Native||Heemstra, 1995; Froese and Pauly, 2004; Sadovy et al., 2007|
|Mozambique||Present||Fischer et al., 1990; Sadovy et al., 2007|
|Seychelles||Present||2002||Orts, 1993||Ten individuals were also recorded in Reef Check 2005 (J Mihaly, Reef Check, USA, personal communication, 2006)|
|USA||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-Hawaii||Present||Introduced||Randall and Heemstra, 1991; Eldredge, 1994; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Australia||Present||Native||Randall and Heemstra, 1991; Froese and Pauly, 2004||Also recorded by Reef Check (J Mihaly, Reef Check, USA, personal communication, 2006)|
|-Queensland||Present||Native||Heemstra and Randall, 1993|
|-Western Australia||Present||Native||Heemstra and Randall, 1993|
|Fiji||Present||Native||Not invasive||Heemstra and Randall, 1993||Also recorded by Reef Check (J Mihaly, Reef Check, USA, personal communication, 2006)|
|Guam||Present||Native||Not invasive||Heemstra and Randall, 1993; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|New Caledonia||Present||Native||Heemstra and Randall, 1993; Froese and Pauly, 2004||Also recorded by Reef Check (J Mihaly, Reef Check, USA, personal communication, 2006)|
|Northern Mariana Islands||Present||Native||Myers, 1999; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Palau||Present||Native||Not invasive||Heemstra and Randall, 1993; Froese and Pauly, 2004; Froese and Pauly, 2007|
|Papua New Guinea||Present||Native||Kailola, 1987; Froese and Pauly, 2004||Also recorded by Reef Check (J Mihaly, Reef Check, USA, personal communication, 2006)|
|Vanuatu||Present||Lieske and Myers, 1994|
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|Hawaii||Unknown||Randall and Heemstra (1991)|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
C. altivelis is a popular aquarium species in the USA and there is a risk that it may become invasive in western Atlantic waters, as did the lionfish (Pterois volitans/miles) (Johnston and Purkis, 2013). Johnston and Purkis (2013) identified the waters off the Florida towns of Jupiter and Vero Beach as the most likely sites for a breeding C. altivelis population to establish.
Habitat ListTop of page
|Coastal areas||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Mangroves||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Intertidal zone||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Lagoons||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Inshore marine||Present, no further details||Natural|
|Coral reefs||Principal habitat||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
Maximum recorded size is 70 cm total length (TL) with sexual maturity at 39 cm TL and 2 years of age, and maximum age is at least 14 years (Heemstra and Randall, 1993; Davies et al., 1999; Lau and Li, 2000). In captivity, however, the fish mature at a smaller size; the minimum recorded size for female maturation is 19.1 cm TL, 114 g, and 18 months of age (M Liu, The Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of Hong Kong, personal communication, 2008). It is still unknown whether C. altivelis forms spawning aggregations in the wild (Sadovy et al., 2007).
The relationships between standard length (SL) and total length (TL) and between standard length and body weight (BW) were estimated from 233 individuals from hatchery-produced and captivity grown-out (M Liu, The Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of Hong Kong, personal communication, 2008). The lengths ranged from 5 to 30 cm SL and both weights ranged from 5 to 350 g with age from 17 to 95 weeks after hatching.
Protogynous hermaphroditism in C. altivelis has been proposed (Gardner et al., 2005) but not yet confirmed since there is no detailed, histological study on it. Males appeared in the population as young as four years of age with the proportion of males showing a gradual increase with 50% male representation occurring at eight years of age (Davies et al., 2006). A recent study on early gonadal development reveals that all C. altivelis develop an ovarian lumen in their juvenile phase with some maturing as females at 18 months (M Liu, The Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of Hong Kong, personal communication, 2008). There is no indication of testicular tissue in juvenile gonads.
ClimateTop of page
|A - Tropical/Megathermal climate||Preferred||Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually|
|Af - Tropical rainforest climate||Preferred||> 60mm precipitation per month|
|Am - Tropical monsoon climate||Preferred||Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))|
|BS - Steppe climate||Preferred||> 430mm and < 860mm annual precipitation|
|BW - Desert climate||Preferred||< 430mm annual precipitation|
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter||Preferred||Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)|
Latitude/Altitude RangesTop of page
|Latitude North (°N)||Latitude South (°S)||Altitude Lower (m)||Altitude Upper (m)|
Water TolerancesTop of page
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Ammonia [unionised] (mg/l)||<0.02||Optimum||Adult|
|Ammonium [ionised] (mg/l)||0-0.05||Optimum|
|Dissolved oxygen (mg/l)||4||8||Optimum||Adult|
|Salinity (part per thousand)||Optimum||8-36 tolerated. C. altivelis still feeds at 8|
|Salinity (part per thousand)||34||35||Optimum||Broodstock|
|Spawning temperature (ºC temperature)||28||30||Optimum||Broodstock|
|Water pH (pH)||7.5||8.3||Optimum||Adult|
|Water temperature (ºC temperature)||Optimum||13-33.3 tolerated. C. altivelis still feeds at 13|
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Aquaculture||Kept in cages for growout locally, also exported for live fish markets||Yes||Yes||Sadovy, 2000; Sadovy et al., 2007|
|Breeding and propagation||Imported long-distance for breeding projects||Yes||Yes||Ou et al., 1999; Rimmer et al., 2004; Sadovy et al., 2007|
|Fisheries||Mainly in South-East Asian countries||Yes||Yes||Sadovy, 2000; Sadovy et al., 2007|
|Food||For live food fish trade and also local consumption||Yes||Yes||Sadovy, 2000; Sadovy et al., 2007|
|Live food or feed trade||For live food fish trade||Yes||Yes||Rimmer et al., 2000; Sadovy, 2000; Sadovy et al., 2007|
|Ornamental purposes||Mainly in South-East Asia||Yes||Yes||Sadovy, 2000; Sadovy et al., 2007|
|Pet trade||Yes||Yes||Sadovy, 2000; Sadovy et al., 2007|
Pathway VectorsTop of page
|Aircraft||Juveniles and adults||Yes||APEC/SEAFDEC, 2001; Ou et al., 1999|
|Aquaculture stock||Juveniles||Yes||APEC/SEAFDEC, 2001; Ou et al., 1999; Sadovy et al., 2007|
|Land vehicles||Juveniles and adults, for short distance transportation, e.g. from airport or port to the farm||Yes||Ou et al., 1999; Sadovy, 2000; Sadovy et al., 2007|
|Live seafood||Capture mainly in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, transported by boat||Yes||Yes||Rimmer et al., 2004; Sadovy, 2000; Sadovy et al., 2007|
|Pets and aquarium species||Juveniles and adults, international trade by air and boat||Yes||Yes||Sadovy, 2000; Sadovy et al., 2007|
|Ship structures above the water line||Juveniles and adults||Yes||Yes||Sadovy, 2000; Sadovy et al., 2007|
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Has a broad native range
- Changed gene pool/ selective loss of genotypes
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Monoculture formation
- Negatively impacts human health
- Negatively impacts livelihoods
- Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
- Negatively impacts tourism
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Pest and disease transmission
- Parasitism (incl. parasitoid)
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
Uses ListTop of page
- Pet/aquarium trade
- Gene source
Human food and beverage
- Fresh meat
- Live product for human consumption
- Meat/fat/offal/blood/bone (whole, cut, fresh, frozen, canned, cured, processed or smoked)
ReferencesTop of page
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ContributorsTop of page
11/12/2007 Updated by:
Min Liu, The Swire Institute of Marine Science, University of Hong Kong, Division of Ecology & Biodiversity, School of Biological Sciences, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
DPI, Agency for Food and Fibre Sciences -, Fisheries and Aquaculture, Northern Fisheries Centre, PO Box 5396, Cairns, Qld 4870, Australia
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