Mycteroperca phenax

Family Serranidae - groupers

Body robust, elongate, somewhat compressed; color pale brown to gray with many reddish brownish spots on sides, yellow on upper and lower lip, pectoral fins dark with white edges; mouth large, oblique (slanted at upward angle); preopercle (flap on top of gill plate) angled with a notch above angle, end of angle is serrated; dorsal fin with elongated rays near posterior end; anal fin with elongated rays anteriorly (behind anal spines); in adults, caudal fin with exserted rays (rays that extend beyond caudal fin margin), exserted rays are unequal in length and irregularly spaced.
Similar Species
The yellowmouth grouper, M. interstitialis, is either uniformly brownish gray or with small closely set spots. In adults the exserted rays are short and evenly spaced. There are no elongated rays in dorsal and anal fins.
Gulf, adults in moderately deep waters, juveniles in shallow waters around jetties and mangrove habitat
Maximum Size
90 cm (3 ft)
Fin Element Counts
D. XI, 15-18; A. III, 10-12 (explain)
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names
State size/bag limits