Coney (Cephalopholis fulva)

Coney (Cephalopholis fulva)

The coney is a member of the Serranidae family of grouper.


Because the coney experiences numerous color phases, it is inadvisable to try to identify this fish by color. These phases range from the common phase, in which the fish is reddish brown; to a bicolor period, in which the upper body is dark and the lower body is pale; to a bright yellow phase. The body is covered with small blue to pale spots, although the spots are uncommon in the bright-yellow phase. There are often two black spots present at the tip of the jaw and two more at the base of the tail, as well as a margin of white around the tail and the soft dorsal fin. The tail is rounded, and there are nine spines in the dorsal fin.


The coney weighs about a pound, although occasionally it can weigh as much as 3 pounds. The average length is 6 to 10 inches, and the maximum length is 16 inches.

Life history/Behavior

As with many grouper, coney females transform into males, usually when they reach 20 centimeters in length. They are gregarious fish, and the males are territorial.


Coney feed mainly on small fish and crustaceans.

Other Names

French: coné ouatalibi; Spanish: canario, cherna cabrilla, corruncha, guativere.



In the western Atlantic, coney extend from Bermuda and South Carolina to southern Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and Atol das Rocas; they are commonly found in the Caribbean and less commonly in southern Florida and the Bahamas.


In the Gulf of Mexico, coney occur in clear deep-water reefs, and in Bermuda and the West Indies they spend the day in caves and under ledges, preferring shallower water the rest of the time. Coney tend to drift immediately above the bottom or rest there in 10- to 60-foot depths, remaining in close proximity to protected areas.