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Groupers, Basslets, and Anthias (Serranidae)
Hawaiian Longfin Anthias (female) Pseudanthias hawaiiensis (Randall, 1979)
The Serranidae is divided into five subfamilies of which three
Only two native groupers occur in the islands, the giant Epinephelus lanceolatus (exceedingly rare; never seen by the author while diving in Hawaii) and E. quernus, a deep-dwelling species. A third grouper, Cephalopholis argus, has been introduced from the Society Islands.
Serranid fishes have a large mouth with the lower jaw projecting, the maxilla (posterior of two upper jaw bones) not part of the gape, its posterior end fully exposed on the cheek when mouth closed; there are 3 opercular spines.
All of these fishes are carnivorous, the species of Epinephelinae feeding mainly on fishes and crustaceans and those of the Anthiinae on zooplankton, generally in aggregations. The fishes of these subfamilies are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that they commence mature life as females and change sex later to males.
Hawaiian Longfin Anthias
Pseudanthias hawaiiensis (female) (Randall, 1979)
Pseudanthias hawaiiensis (male) (Randall, 1979)
Females yellow dorsally, shading to pale magenta below, with magenta lines around eye, and yellow fins; head of males yellow, the body orange, flecked with magenta, becoming deep lavender posteriorly; pelvic fins very long; dorsal spines 10, soft rays 17; pectoral rays 15; lateral line scales 40-46. To 4 inches (10 cm). Hawaiian Islands, usually in more than 100 feet (30.5 m).
This fish was first described from Hawai'i by the author as a subspecies, Pseudanthias ventralis hawaiiensis. The second subspecies P. v. ventralis, was reported from other Pacific localities. Additional specimens have made the differences (larger size, higher average number of gill rakers and different color in Hawai'i) more evident, so hawaiiensis is here elevated to a species.
P. ventralis is wide-ranging in the Pacific from Pitcairn Island to New Caledonia and the Great Barrier Reef, north to southern Japan.
Holanthias fuscipinnis (Jenkins, 1901)
Orange-yellow with magenta markings; dorsal spines 10, rays 17, the third spine clearly longest; caudal fin forked. Reaches 9.5 inches (24 cm). Hawaiian Islands, generally at depths greater than 180 feet (55 m). Does well in aquaria despite its preference for deep water.
Liopropoma aurora (Jordan & Evermann, 1903)
Red with small greenish to brownish yellow spots on body, yellow stripes and spots on head, and yellow bands in median fins; head pointed; dorsal spines 8, rays 13. Largest, 7.3 inches (18.5 cm). Hawaiian Islands, usually in 200 to 600 feet (61-183 m); once observed by the author in 120 feet (36.5 m).
Epinephelus quernus (Seale, 1901) Hapu'u
Adults dark brown with pale blotches and spots; juveniles dark brown with 8 vertical rows of small white spots on body; dorsal; spines 11, rays 14-15. Attains at least 32 inches (81 cm). Hawaiian Islands; adults in the main islands in deep water (the young occasionally in diving depths); adults as shallow as 26 feet (8 m) in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.
All information and pictures in this section are from John E. Randall's Shore Fishes of Hawai'i by permission of the author.
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