Usually it is a mottled yellow-brown to gray with darker bard and spots, ideal for blending in to their rocky coral and muddy inshore habitat. Other names are Baden (Portuguese), campus (Portuguese), hernia gig ante (Italian), China (Spanish), group (Portuguese), gran morgue (Iranian), guava (Spanish), data (Japanese), harbor (Norwegian), havsabborre (Swedish), Tamara Vienna (Polish), Judaism (Norwegian), hero guava (Spanish), hero (French), orphan (Turkish), raitameriahven (Finnish), Sophos (Greek), scarring (Italian), tip (Palikir), Atari (Icelandic), and zackenbarsch (German).
A 450 pound goliathgrouper caught by Buddy Junks at the Big Indian Rocks Fishing Pier, Florida (1976). Photo courtesy Kenneth Krzysztof historical importance to commercial fisheries, the goliathgrouper has also long been prized by recreational and sport fishers.
Spear fishers find this fish easy to approach; hence in locations accessible to divers their numbers have declined. The large size, slow growth, low reproductive rate, and spawning behavior have made the goliathgrouper especially susceptible to overfishing.
The goliathgrouper is totally protected from harvest and is recognized as a “Critically Endangered” species by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Furthermore, the IUCN concludes that the species has been “observed, estimated, inferred or suspected” of a reduction of at least 80% over the last 10 years or three generations.
Historical exploitation of goliathgrouper annual spawning aggregation sites greatly reduced the number of reproductive adults. Occurring in shallow, inshore waters to depths of 150 feet (46 m), the goliathgrouper prefers areas of rock, coral, and mud bottoms.
It is territorial near areas of refuge such as caves, wrecks, and ledges, displaying an open mouth and quivering body to intruders. Additional warning may be delivered in the form of the goliathgrouper ’s ability to produce a distinctly audible rumbling sound generated by the muscular contraction of the swim bladder.
Photo courtesy NOAA Distinctive Features Goliath grouper are the largest members of the sea bass family in the Atlantic Ocean. Coloration This fish is generally brownish yellow, gray, or olive with small dark spots on head, body, and fins.
The presence of a number of short weakly developed canine teeth is useful in distinguishing this species from other North Atlantic groupers. Photo © Don Maria Size, Age, and Growth The goliathgrouper is the largest grouper in the western Atlantic.
However, this specimen was sampled from a population of individuals depressed by fishing pressure and it is projected that goliathgrouper may live much longer, perhaps as much as 50 years. Photo © Don Maria Food Habits Goliath grouper feed largely on crustaceans (in particular spiny lobsters, shrimps and crabs), fishes (including stingrays and parrot fishes), octopus, and young sea turtles.
However, the significance of this finding is of diminished value when one considers that transitional individuals are known to be rare amongst confirmed species of protogynous hermaphrodites, such as the red grouper (Epimetheus Mario) and gag (Mycteroperca microbes). Photo courtesy National Marine Fisheries Service In support of the notion that the species is a protogynous hermaphrodite is the fact that the largest Goliath groupers are invariably male. Spawning occurs during the summer months of July, August, and September throughout the goliathgrouper ’s range and is strongly influenced by the lunar cycle.
Ship wrecks, rock ledges, and isolated patch reefs are preferred spawning habitat. In the 1980s these aggregations reached a low of less than 10 individuals per site as fishing pressure greatly impacted this species.
Since receiving legislative protection the spawning aggregations of goliathgrouper have risen to 20-40 individuals per location. These pelagic larvae transform into benthic juveniles at lengths of one inch (2.5 cm), around 25 or 26 days after hatching.
In an 1884 work, “The fishes of the Florida Keys,” David Starr Jordan proposed the inclusion of the goliathgrouper in Epimetheus (Bloch 1793) and this combination remains in use today. Of incidental note is the fact that various authors have incorrectly spelled the specific epithet “Tamara” as “tiara.” The genus name comes from the Greek epinephelos translated as cloudy.
A number of authors treat the name Promiscuous Tamara as valid taxonomy for the goliathgrouper. I learned about it from a buddy diver who excitedly told me to go diving with him upon a prompt from a classmate in high school who happened to be the mayor of that town.
Probably, I am lucky that the Goliath grouper (Epimetheus quinquefasciatus) I encountered several minutes when I plunged into the water was still a juvenile. I brought with me my automatic Nikon camera encased in a plastic casing to make it water-resistant as taking pictures is a pleasure for me each time I travel.
I grabbed the camera hanging by a tough nylon string around my wrist, and took a video of the Goliath grouper following my buddy. Despite the huge size of the Goliath grouper, they seem to be docile fishes although there are reports that they do attack humans.
I saw one video that says so but analyzing the situation, I thought the reason was mainly to feed, not really to attack. The moving fins attracted the grouper thinking probably that it was its prey and snapped on it.
When the juveniles are older, they migrate to the coral reefs and stay there for more than 40 years. When they are old enough to reproduce, the Goliath groupers migrate and spawn into the deeper water column, fertilize the eggs which then are carried by the current, hatch then drift in the currents for 30 to 80 days (Fig.
Life cycle of the Goliath grouper (Illustration by Jane Hakka, IAN Image Library (ian.umces.edu/imagelibrary/) The nearshore environment is a fragile one that should be protected or conserved considering the highly complex life that intertwine in mangrove ecosystems.
About The Author Regional, Patrick Dr. Patrick A. Regional mentored graduate and undergraduate students for more than two decades and engaged in various university and externally-funded national and international research projects as a consultant. Related to his blogging and book writing venture, he taught himself HTML, CSS, SEO, LyX/LaTeX, GIMP, and Inkscape to edit SVG, JPEG, and PNG files and WordPress.
systems analysis using Stella, ENSIM, and Sesame; CGIS mapping, SCUBA diving for work and pleasure. He likes running 2-3 miles, 3-4 times a week thus finished a 21K in 2019, and recently learned to cook at home due to COVID-19.
However, the reality is that the majestic and typically docile elephant wins the prize for the world’s strongest mammal. An Asian elephant has more than 150,000 muscle units in its trunk alone, and this level of power allows it to easily uproot fully grown trees or forcefully spray up to a gallon of water.
Some eagle species are known to prey on comparatively large animals like monkeys and sloths, so it should come as no surprise that they are able to easily lift things that are many times their own weight during flight. As soon as you take one good look at the Atlantic goliathgrouper, you will likely understand how it got the title of “strongest fish.” They can grow to be up to nine feet long.
Fishermen who want a serious challenge often seek out Goliath groupers because their enormous size and relative strength makes them extremely difficult to land. When you search the internet for terms like “world’s strongest animal,” the dung beetle is almost always one of the top results.
The dung beetle certainly earns its place as one of the strongest animals in the world, especially when you consider its size versus how much it can carry. They typically grow to be up to one inch long and weigh less than an ounce, but they can carry an amazing 1,141 times their own body weight.
To put that kind of strength into perspective, if a human could move that much weight, it would be the same as one person pulling six full double-decker buses by themselves. While they cannot carry quite as much as a dung beetle relative to their size, these insects are still believed to be able to move a whopping 850 times their own body weight.
A big enough anaconda has been known to kill large deer, jaguars, and even black caimans (a reptile similar to an alligator). Anacondas can constrict around their prey with the strength of at least 10 powerful men, so they are generally considered to be apex predators.
In addition, they can travel easily at speeds up to 23 miles per hour for long distances, and they can move at least 30 tons through the water. When threatened, an adult zebra can kill a fully grown male African lion with a single blow to the body.
They have immensely strong front legs and are built to take down large creatures like elk, musk ox, bison, and reindeer. So many creatures have their own amazing types of strength and power that it’s hard to pit them against each other to decide who is the all-around strongest.
Captain Tim Simon offers customized GoliathGrouper fishing charters out of Fort Pierce including Vero Beach and Port St. Lucie. The pursuit of GoliathGrouper is a dangerous undertaking and comes with inherent risks, as these fish commonly weigh between 50 and 400 pounds and more.
There has been and still is, a catch and release only fishery for goliathgrouper in Vero Beach and the rest of Florida. Angling for goliathgrouper out of Vero Beach and Fort Pierce can be done all year long and requires highly specialized tackle and techniques.
Tackle necessary to catch GoliathGrouper is more expensive and warrants additional charges over and above the traditional fishing charter rate. If you choose to target only goliathgrouper for your 4 OR 5-hour trip, the cost will be $750 for two anglers for an unlimited number of Goliath's.
Its massive size and slow growth (it takes five to seven years for a grouper to become sexually mature) has made it highly susceptible to pressure from commercial and recreational fishing, which has led to its status as an endangered species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Recently, the FCC conducted a stock assessment of the grouper ’s numbers in Florida, and found it to be at much healthier levels than it was when first declared an endangered species.
However, the study was rejected for use in federal waters by an independent panel of scientists due to its limited scope, which only included South Florida. They’ve raised enough concern that the FCC is now considering reopening the fishery, albeit in a limited fashion.
Due to the controversy around the issue, the FCC is hosting more than a dozen workshops to discuss the matter and to get a feel for public opinion. Currently, one idea on the table is to create a four-year paid lottery that would allow 100 people each year to harvest one goliathgrouper.
It would cost $300 to buy into, and the fish can only be caught by hook and line, with no commercial harvest or sale allowed. Studies by Florida State University marine biologists in 2010 and 2011 found that the grouper is still being fished illegally and disagreed with anglers’ statements that the Goliath is a threat to their livelihood.
Furthermore, they found that Goliath improve reef diversity rather than threaten it, countering a claim that has been made by proponents of an open fishery. Regardless, anglers contend that they are competing with the grouper, saying that Goliath have snatched their catch from their lines as they were reeling them in.