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Superregnum : Eukaryota
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Superphylum: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Cladus: Craniata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Megaclassis: Osteichthyes
Superclassis/Classis: Actinopterygii
Classis/Subclassis: Actinopteri
Subclassis/Infraclassis: Neopterygii
Infraclassis: Teleostei
Megacohors: Osteoglossocephalai
Supercohors: Clupeocephala
Cohors: Euteleosteomorpha
Subcohors: Neoteleostei
Infracohors: Eurypterygia
Sectio: Ctenosquamata
Subsectio: Acanthomorphata
Divisio/Superordo: Acanthopterygii
Subdivisio: Percomorphaceae
Series: Eupercaria
Ordo: Perciformes
Subordo: Percoidei
Superfamilia: Percoidea

Familia: Serranidae
Subfamilia: Epinephelinae
Genus: Variola
Species: V. albimarginata – V. louti

Variola Swainson, 1839

Variola – Taxon details on Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
Variola species list in FishBase,
Froese, R. & Pauly, D. (eds.) 2021. FishBase. World Wide Web electronic publication,, version 02/2021.

Vernacular names

Variola, the lyretails, is a genus of marine ray-finned fish, groupers from the subfamily Epinephelinae, part of the family Serranidae, which also includes the anthias and sea basses. They are found in the tropical Indo-Pacific and their distribution extends from the Red Sea to South Africa across the Indian Ocean and east to the islands of the central Pacific.[3]


The lyretails have an oblong shaped body which has a depth that is less than the length of the head and which has a standard length that is 2.8 to 3.2 times its depth. They have a slightly convex dorsal profile of the head and a snout which is longer than the diameter of the eye. Both species have a rounded preopercle with a finely serrated margin and a fleshy lower margin. There are three flat spines on the gill cover which has a straight upper margin. Both the upper and lower jaws have a pair of large canine teeth at the front and there are also 1 to 3 large canines in the middle of the lower jaw There are teeth on the roof of the mouth. The dorsal fin contains 9 spines and 13 to 15 soft rays and it has its origin above the posterior end of the gill cover. The mambranes between the spines of the dorsal fin are not or are only slightly incised. The anal fin has 3 separated spines and 8 soft rays. The caudal fin is crescent shaped with elongated lobes.[3]
Habitat and biology

Variola species occur at depths of 4 to 200 metres (13 to 656 ft) over coral reefs where they are normally observed seen swimming some distance above the reef and they appear to prefer areas with clear water such as islands and offshore reefs. They are largely piscivorous.[3]

The two known species are:[4][5]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Variola albimarginata 2572.jpg Variola albimarginata Baissac, 1952 white-edged lyretail Indo-Pacific: East African coasts between Kenya and Mozambique including Zanzibar and Mafia Island, across the Indian Ocean to the Seychelles, southwestern India and Sri Lanka and into the Pacific Ocean, north as far as the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan, east to Samoa and the Cook Islands and south to Australia.
Variola louti Landaagiraavaru.JPG Variola louti (Forsskål, 1775) yellow-edged lyretail East coast of Africa where it occurs from Durban in South Africa to the Red Sea through the tropical Indian Ocean east into the Pacific Ocean where it occurs as far north as southern Japan, south to Australia and east to the Pitcairn Islands.


Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ron & van der Laan, Richard (eds.). "Variola". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ron & van der Laan, Richard (eds.). "Genera in the family Epinephelinae". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 15 August 2020.
Heemstra, P.C. & J.E. Randall (1993). FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 16. Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper and lyretail species known to date (PDF). FAO Fish. Synopsis. 125. FAO, Rome. p. 301-302. ISBN 92-5-103125-8.
"Variola". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 6 June 2006.
Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2006). Species of Variola in FishBase. March 2006 version.

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