Redescription and validation of Alphestes afer as an amphi-Atlantic grouper species (Perciformes: Serranidae)
Alphestes afer (Bloch, 1793), a common western Atlantic species of grouper, was described from the coast of Guinea, West Africa. The type locality has long been regarded as erroneous, and the presence of this species in the eastern Atlantic has gone unnoticed since its original description. A morphological comparison of the holotype with 44 specimens from various western Atlantic and Caribbean localities indicates that the holotype is indeed conspecific with western Atlantic specimens. Recently (March, 2004) a specimen bearing strong resemblance to A. afer was photographed at São Tomé city fish market on São Tomé Island (Gulf of Guinea; West Africa), and a tissue sample was taken for genetic analysis. Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA evidence indicates that this specimen is conspecific with western Atlantic specimens. The species is herein re-described.