Adult giant Queensland gropers’ stocky shape and brown coloration give them a nearly potato-like profile as they rest motionless on the bottom or hover in mid-water, using only tiny fin movements to maintain their position. Although not generally considered dangerous, large Queensland gropers should be treated with caution and should not be hand fed by divers etc.
Educating fishers on the best ways to identify and return any live incidentally caught giant Queensland groper to the water. Scientific study to find out more information about the breeding biology of the species such as its migratory habits and spawning aggregations.
Taking or possessing giant Queensland groper (or any other species of protected fish) is an offense and heavy penalties apply. Heemskerk PC & Randall JE 1993, ‘FAO species catalog Volume 16 Groupers of the world (Family Serranidae, Subfamily Epinephrine)’, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 382 pp.
Given its impressive reputation, it’s no surprise that this mighty fish is the aquatic emblem of Queensland, Australia. Scientists know that Queensland Gropers/Giant Groupers grow to 2.7 m (close to 9’) in size and can easily weigh over 400 kg (880 lbs).
They even eat other large fish and small Sharks, but they’re favorite food is Crayfish. You can find this species throughout the Indo-Pacific region (excluding the Persian Gulf), from South Africa to the Hawaiian Islands.
Anglers and scientists have recorded Queensland Groper in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, and China. Juvenile Queensland Gropers inhabit estuary systems and shallow inshore reefs.
Queensland Groper is also known as Brindle bass or Brown Spotted Cod, due to its mottled pattern A Queensland Groper, Epimetheus lanceolatus, at Main Beach South Stradbroke Island, Queensland, August 2017.
Summary:Adults are a mottled greyish-brown with yellowish or darker fins. Small juveniles are yellow with irregular broad dark bars on the body, and irregular dark spots on the fins.
This huge robust grouper is the largest bony reef-dwelling fish in the world. Prior to its listing as a protected species in the early 1980s, the Queensland Groper was much sought after by line and spearfishes in New South Wales.
2020, Epimetheus lanceolatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Jan 2021, http://184.108.40.206/home/species/4672 Rottenest Island through north-western Australia, including Rowley Shoals and Scott Reef, to Sydney, New South Wales including reefs in the Coral Sea; also Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean, and the Lord Howe Island Province in the Tasman Sea.
The species has also been reported from Young husband Peninsula, South Australia. This solitary species inhabits shallow inshore waters, including rocky areas, caves and wrecks, harbors, estuaries, lagoons and seaward reefs.
Large individuals often hover in mid-water, or lie motionless on the bottom. Dorsal fin XI,14-16; Anal fin III, 8; Gill makers (first arch) 8-10 + 14-17; Lateral-line scales 54-62, anterior scales with branched tubules (except small juveniles).
Body robust, body depth 2.3-3.4 in SL (specimens 12-179 cm SL); body width 1.5-1.75 in body depth; head length 2.2-2.7 in SL; eye diameter 5.8-14 in HL; interorbital width 3.3 (at 177 cm SL) to 6.2 (at 12 cm SL) in HL; properly finely serrate, the corner rounded; upper edge of pendulum convex. Mid lateral part of lower jaw with 2-3 rows of teeth (at 20-25 cm SL) increasing to 15-16 rows in specimen of 177 cm SL; canine teeth at front of jaws small or absent.
Dorsal fin third to eleventh spines subequal, shorter than the longest soft rays; short pelvic fins, 23.0-2.7 in head length; caudal fin rounded. Small juveniles (less than 15 cm SL) are yellow, with 3 irregular black areas, the first from the spinors dorsal fin to the belly and chest, and extending onto the head; the second from the soft dorsal-fin base to the anal fin; the third at the caudal-fin base. Subadults (25-60 cm SL) with irregular white or yellow spots on the black areas, and black spots on the fins. Adults (90-165 cm SL) dark brown with faint mottling, and numerous small black spots on the fins. Large adults 180-250 cm SL) are greyish-brown to dark brown with darker fins.
Feeds on lobsters, crabs, fishes including small sharks and rays, and juvenile sea turtles. Although common in the live fish trade in Asia, the species is considered to be under threat from fishing pressure in most parts of its range.
Fortunately, fish reared in aquaculture operations are increasingly being sold in the live fish trade. Listed as a Protected Species under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 in New South Wales, where it is at the southern limit of its distribution in Australia.
The species is also partly or fully protected in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. There have been unconfirmed reports of fatal attacks on humans, and the flesh of large individuals may contain ciguatera.
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