Grouper , any of numerous species of large-mouthed heavy-bodied fishes of the family Serranidae order Perciformes , many belonging to the genera Epinephelus and Mycteroperca. Groupers are widely distributed in warm seas and are often dully coloured in greens or browns, but a number are brighter, more boldly patterned fishes. Some, such as the Nassau grouper Epinephelus striatus , are noted for their ability to change from one to any of a number of other colour patterns. Also, in many species, such as the black and yellowfin groupers Mycteroperca bonaci and M. Groupers are protogynous hermaphrodites ; that is, they first function as females and later transform into males. They are prime food fishes and also provide sport for anglers and spearfishers.
Dusky denizen of the Med
Kreature Feature started off as an educational presentation at our monthly general staff meetings here at the Two Oceans Aquarium. Every month PA to Head of Education Katja Rockstroh presents a different animal that we have here at the Aquarium and tells our colleagues more about it. Usually she uncovers some rather interesting facts about the various animals she researches.
Management of the goliath grouper, the largest member of the seabass family, has become an intensely debated issue in recent years. The University of Florida has been looking at the most recent science-based information on the biology and ecology of goliath grouper relevant to management issues. Historically, the goliath grouper was relatively common and highly conspicuous in portions of its range. It is a relatively shallow-water species with a tropical to subtropical distribution.
The dusky grouper inhabits rocky reefs in the Mediterranean Sea, eastern and south-western Atlantic and western Indian Ocean. It is a large fish, measuring up to 1. Its big head, wide mouth and jutting lower jaw give the dusky grouper a slightly prehistoric look, and the distinctive fungus-like blotches on its skin add to its strange appearance. Dusky groupers favour habitat with a rocky bottom. Territorial, and largely solitary outside the spawning season, they are mainly ambush feeders, sucking in their prey and swallowing it whole. One of the most remarkable characteristics of this and other grouper species is that every fish begins life as a female before turning into a male once it has attained a certain age and size. This gender reversal most frequently occurs at around 12 years old. In recent decades, dusky grouper numbers have declined alarmingly, particularly in the Mediterranean Sea.