Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 11 spines and 15-17 rays. Anal fin usually with 3 spines and 8 rays. Pectoral fin with 17-19 rays. Body depth 2.8-3.3 in standard length. 14 to 16 gill rakers on lower limb. Preopercle serrate with 3-7 large serrae at the angle. Dorsal fin membrane distinctly incised between spines. Caudal fin slightly convex in juveniles, truncate or slightly emarginate in adults.
Colour: Pale, covered with numerous dark brown spots. About 8-14 dark spots from last dorsal spine to anus. Spots relatively smaller and more numerous with growth. Caudal margin whitish.
Habitat and Biology: Found on sea grass beds or on fine sediment bottoms near rocky reefs and dead corals at depth of 6 to 200 m. Feeds on benthic invertebrates and small fishes.
Distribution: Indo-West Pacific.
Remarks: Epinephelus areolatus is a rather attractive species with its pale brown spotting. It may be confused with E. cholorostigma, but that species has much smaller spots, and slightly different fin and gill raker counts.