CONEY - Cephalopholis fulva
Description: The Coney is a relatively small grouper species which occurs in
three main color forms: a red or dark brown form, commonly found in deep water; an orange-brown or bi-colored form,
orangey-brown above and pale below, which usually occurs in shallow water; and a yellow (‘xanthic’) form, found in both
deep and shallow water. In the first two forms, the head and body are covered in small, dark-edged
blue spots, while in the yellow form the spots are fewer and are confined to the front part of the head and body. In
all color forms, there are two prominent black spots on the tip of the lower jaw, and also two prominent black spots
near the tail. Like many groupers, the Coney is able to change color, and at night may take on a pale
coloration, with irregular vertical bars and blotches. Individuals can also apparently change between
the all-red or all-brown form and the bi-colored form, whereas yellow individuals do not appear to change. The
Coney may change to the bi-colored pattern in response to excitement, or the pattern may aid in concealing the
fish at certain times of day.
Distribution: Western Atlantic: South Carolina, USA and Bermuda to southern Brazil.
Where Found: Prefers coral reefs and clear water. In the Gulf of Mexico, it occurs in clear deep reefs. At Bermuda and the West Indies, the species is common in shallow water, but it usually hides in caves or under ledges during the day. The species is protogynous with females maturing at 16 cm TL and transforming to males at about 20 cm. Males are territorial. Feeds mainly on small fishes and crustaceans. May follow morays and snake eels to feed on flushed preys. Wary, but approachable.