The Grouper

Common Name: Grouper

Type: Fish

Family: Serranidae

Range: The most common and prominent species of Grouper, Nassau and Black grouper are available in abundant in tropical and subtropical seas. The Nassau is having an oblong large body with big eyes and spiky fins. The Black groper has an oblong large body and a big lower jaw with Gray or olive color together with dark rectangular spots on its body. These Grouper are available in the western Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and parts of Gulf of Mexico and all parts of Costa Rica. There are several other species that are available in all parts of the world. They are having a good value as food fish.

Size: They can grow up to a length of 3 m (10 ft.) for some species.

Weight: The Grouper Can reach weights greater than 454 kg (1,000 lb.)

Diet: grown-up groupers usually feed on a variety of fish such as snappers, wrasses, parrotfish, and damselfishes. Additionally mature groupers are also killing octopus, lobster, crab, and crustaceans. Young groupers have a tendency to eat crustaceans, plankton, microalgae and small microorganisms.
Average life span: The Grouper have relatively long-lived; some groupers have lived for more than 30 years.

Habitat: Groupers are available in every ocean on the globe. The precise habitat that groupers select to live in, however, differs from species to species and it also depends on the age of the creature. Young groupers are available closer to the coast and habitually seek protection in sea grass beds and tidal pools until they become mature. On the other hand, Adult groupers tend to stay on the sea bed of tropical and subtropical waters. Most of the species reside on coral reefs. These Groupers are seldom found in packs and be inclined to make group together when it is time to reproduce

Breeding/Reproduction: They are Oviparous (egg lying). A reproduction in these groupers is very unique and exciting process and it varies from species to species. They are known to be private creatures except during the seeding season. During producing season groupers are gathered in very big numbers at precise areas during the full moon in winter. They perform this activity in order to enhance the chances of successful mating. Males perform spawn several times during the breeding time; however females can only spawn once in a year. Recent studies on Groupers that some tend to be protogynous hermaphrodite; it means that the majority of young groupers are female and switch to males as they mature.

Groupers are the fish that belongs to the Serranidae family and in the order Perciformes. The name “grouper” came from a Portuguese word garoupa. These species were called in different names depending on the countries they inhabit. In Australia they name them Groper while in the Philippines they were named Lapu Lapu or Pugapo. Also in New Zealand they were known as Hapuku and in the Middle East they were called hammour. Groupers inhabited almost all oceans in the world but mostly in warmer and tropical places. In Costa Rica due to its abundant marine ecosystem grouper can be seen in Bay Pines to Manuel Antonio beach, as well as Jaco beach and Drake Bay to Osa peninsula and Tamarindo.

One of physical attributes of a grouper is their huge mouth and bulky body. They can measure up to over one meter in length and weighs approximately 100 kilograms. They are noted on having mostly a brownish or greenish dull colors but other were tagged to have brighter color. Their mouth doesn’t hold enough teeth to bite their prey so usually they will swallow their prey.

Their main diet includes fish, octopuses, and crustaceans. They usually just stay hold up still than chasing their prey. When their prey is near, their mouth and gills will powerfully suck the prey and swallow them alive. In the month of May till August is the common breeding time of most groupers. Some groupers are Protogynous hermaphrodites in nature which means they are born females and when they grow up their body shifts their sex to males. The biggest male in the group will usually copulate and create a harem of 10 to 15 females.

The species of The Groupers are the following”

Black Grouper:
Black Grouper or Mycteroperca bonaci inhibits the waters of Western Atlantic Ocean, United States and Southern Brazil. Also they can be seen swimming in the Florida Keys, Bahamas, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. These types of grouper are usually big in sizes. They measure up to 150 centimeters long and weighs 100 kilograms. Mostly they are olive or grayish colored fish with some black patches and flashy spots.

The Comet Grouper:
The Comet Grouper or the Epinephelus morrhua can be found in the Red Sea as well as in the Eastern Africa to the central Pacific Ocean. They usually are blue in color with spots all over. They usually weigh 10 kilograms.

The Giant Grouper:
The Giant Grouper or the Epinephelus lanceolatus is also called by other name like Brindle Bass, Brown Spotted Cod or Bumblebee grouper. They are usually found in shoal waters in Australia, Indian Ocean and Pacific.

The Atlantic Goliath Grouper:
The Atlantic Goliath Grouper or the Epinephelus itajara is consider a saltwater fish which can be found in shoal temperate waters of Florida Keys, Bahamas, Caribbean and Brazil. They can measure up to 8 feet in length and weighs as much as 363 kilograms. Their diet includes crustaceans, fishes, octopus and even baby sea turtles.

The Vermillion Seabass
The Vermillion Seabass or the Cephalopholis miniatus are also called in different names as Jewel Grouper or Coral Hind. They are colored red but having blue dots. Usually they measures up to 24.5 centimeters long.

The Nassau Grouper
The Nassau Grouper or Epinephelus striatus has a medium sized body unlike other groupers that are huge. They can be over one meter long and weighs up to 25 kilograms. Their color depends on their environment. If they inhabit shoal waters they have tawny color while one that lived in deep waters are pink, red or orange red in color. There are light stripes over its body and in the head as well as dark bars and spots in the eyes area.

Saddle Tailed Grouper
Saddle Tailed Grouper or the Epinephelus daemelii is also called Black Cod. It can be found in the South part of Australia as well as in New Zealand. It has an average body length of 200 centimeters and weighs up to 68 kilograms. They usually have black or dark grey in color with a stripe liked pattern of black and white.

The Scamp grouper
The Scamp grouper or the Mycteroperca phenax is also called Brown Grouper or Abadejo. It can be found swimming in the Gulf of Mexico as well in the United States. They are brown in color with different darker spots and lines in their body.

The Tiger Grouper
The Tiger Grouper or the Mycteroperca tigris can be found in the waters of South and Central America especially in Costa Rica. They have a narrow body which are usually red in color with stripes.

Warsaw Grouper
Warsaw Grouper or the pinephelus nigritus can be found in the waters of Belize, Brazil, Haiti, Cuba, Panama, Trinidad and also United States. They are also called black grouper because of their color.

The white grouper
The white grouper or the Epinephelus aeneus can be found in the Atlantic Ocean as well as Southern part of the Mediterranean Sea. They are called white grouper because of its color. It can grow up to 120 centimeters in length and weighs 25 kilograms.

Yellow fin grouper
Yellow fin grouper or the Mycteroperca venenosa can be found in the Atlantic Ocean as well as Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. It is named that way because of the color they possess that is shiny yellow.

These Groupers are an essential part of the coral reef ecosystem. Their responsibility as predators on the coral reefs keeps away other marine animals from running out of control and the stop overpopulation of certain organisms on and around the reef.
Natural predators of groupers are barracudas, moray eels and big sharks. Their numbers are declining due to over fishing so some species as considered as vulnerable by IUCN Red List.

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