Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 11 spines and 15-17 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 8 rays. Pectoral fin with 17-20 rays. Body depth 3.0-3.6 in standard length. Total gill rakers 21 to 24. Body robust. Lower jaw strongly projecting. Inter-orbital area flat or slightly concave. Caudal fin rounded.
Colour: Head and body with round to polygonal dark brown spots, variable in size (juveniles with larger spots). Median fins yellowish, with blackish brown spots. Soft dorsal, caudal and anal fins with pale margin. Underside of jaw usually with two dark spots.
Habitat and Biology: Occurs on coral reefs to depths of at least 44 m. Feeds on crustaceans (mainly crabs), fishes, octopuses and squids.
Remarks: Specimens of Epinephelus macrospilos from Western Indian Ocean differ from those elsewhere by having dark spots on underside of jaw, and the dark spots on the head and body are larger and close-set.