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Spotted grouper in Komodo

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This doesn't quite look like a red coral grouper nor a tomato grouper. The spots were bright violet, and not red. Any ideas?

echeng140215_071515.jpg

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It also could color morph into a version with 5 white blotches on top, with a white line on its head...

echeng140215_071403.jpg

echeng140215_071302.jpg

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I'd go for White-edged Lyretail - Variola albimarginata. However, it is very similar to the Yellow-edged (V. louti) with I think the only distiguishing feature being the tail margin. Given how groupers as so adept at changing their colours, it is difficult to be 100% sure. The white stripe between the eyes is a feature of juveniles of V. louti - not sure about V. albimarginata.

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It reminds me a lot of this:

 

http://www.flickr.com/photos/bmorejojo/11444582965/in/set-72157638813400454

 

which I had pegged as a V. louti. The violet spots match, and it has the saddle marks as well. But on my image, the tail margin is much more yellow, so I see what JimG is saying.

 

Of course, I could be wrong about mine as well. :) What a beautiful fish!

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bmorescuba

 

Stunning detail and agree, a beautiful fish. Both have the violet/blue spots and the overall colour can vary tremendously. Both can display saddles according to Fishbase but not always. I am sure your is correctly identified.

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Interesting! Thanks, everyone. I think I'm going to go with V. louti. This is like a black art.

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Reef Fishes of the East Indies quite strongly, I would say conclusively, shows that this is V. albimarginata. The body colour on your first image matches that depicted for an adult, with the same orange-red background and many small blueish spots appearing as orange and blueish lines behind the opercle. The main difference is that the RFEI image has bright white edges and margin of the caudal fin, whereas yours are more dull white/pale.

 

Your second and third image are much closer to the RFEI image for a juvenile V. albimarginata. As pointed out by Jim Greenfield, the white line along the nape in your images is indicative of juveniles and young adults of both V. louti and V. albimarginata. But otherwise the juveniles of these two species are VERY different. V. albi juvis have fewer and larger blue spots, unlike your image, and has white blotches on the head and flanks in addition to the white saddles, as shown on your images. To me it suggests that your first image is an adult and the others are either subadults of perhaps adults have the sub-adult coloration as one of the color patterns they can switch back to depending on mood or conditions.

 

The Reef Fish Identification Tropical Pacific book image for V. albimarginata is very different and completely lacking the white edges on top and bottom of the caudal tail, and the body spot patterns are not quite the same either. I wonder if there are more than two Variola species or it the RFITP images is actually V. louti.

 

Bart

Edited by Glasseye Snapper

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Bart

Glad you got your expensive tome out - wondered where you were. Interesting stuff. Fishbase only show these two in the Variola genus. Maybe there is another lurking undiscovered.... or even viable hybrids?

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Bart

Glad you got your expensive tome out - wondered where you were. Interesting stuff. Fishbase only show these two in the Variola genus. Maybe there is another lurking undiscovered.... or even viable hybrids?

 

Hi Jim,

I've been "lurking here undiscovered" for the last little while because there wasn't much to contribute to. My own trip this spring is still in limbo as my regular buddy may need to postpone. I don't think I can suppress my withdrawal symptoms much longer so may head out by myself instead. I have always wanted to do an in-depth fish ecology research project and may go back to Anilao to explore a house reef in excruciating detail. As I've started to go through my old images I may have some posts to the critter-ID in the near future myself.

 

Bart

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