The properly is subangular with the serrations at its angle being slightly enlarged and the upper edge of the gill cover is straight. The They are dark reddish brown on the upper part of the head and body, shading to paler pink on the underparts, they are marked with lighter spots and blotches across their body and there are darker margins to the fins.
This species has a maximum published total length of 125 centimeters (49 in), although they a more commonly found at lengths around 50 centimeters (20 in), and a maximum published weight of 23 kilograms (51 lb). The redgrouper's typical range is coastal areas in the western Atlantic, stretching from southern Brazil to North Carolina in the US and including the Gulf of Mexico and Bermuda.
Spawning occurs offshore between January and June, peaking in May. While primarily eating benthic invertebrates, the red grouper is an opportunistic feeder in the reef community.
The diet commonly includes mantid and portend crabs, juvenile spiny lobster, and snapping shrimp, with the occasional fish. The red grouper is of moderate size, about 125 cm and weighs 23 kg or more.
When aggravated (they are highly territorial) or involved in spawning activities, these fish can very rapidly change coloration patterns, with the head or other parts of the body turning completely white, and the white spots appearing more intense. Red grouper (Epimetheus Mario) on an excavated site on Pulley Ridges on the West Florida Shelf Red grouper actively excavate pits in the seafloor.
They start digging in the sediment from the time they settle out of the plankton and continue throughout their lifetime. They use their caudal fin and their mouths to remove debris and sediment from rocks, creating exposed surfaces on which sessile organisms actively settle (e.g., sponges, soft corals, algae).
The exposure of structure also attracts a myriad of other species, including mobile invertebrates and a remarkable diversity of other fishes, from bodies and butterfly fish to grunts and snapper. The lionfish Steroid Holsteins started invading red grouper habitat by 2008, from Florida Bay to the Florida Keys and offshore to Pulley Ridge, a despotic coral reef on the West Florida Shelf west of the Dry Tortugas.
Known for being extremely capable predators on small reef fish, scientists are very interested in determining the extent to which their invasion changes the functional dynamics of associated communities. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Epimetheus Mario.
The giant grouper has a robust body which has a standard length equivalent to 2.4 to 3.4 times its depth. The dorsal profile of the head and the intraorbital area are convex, The properly has a rounded corner and a finely serrated margin.
The gill cover has a convex upper margin. There are 11 spines and 14-16 soft rays in the dorsal fin while the anal fin has 3 spines and 8 soft rays.
The adults are greyish-brown in color overlain with a mottled pattern and with darker fins. The giant grouper can grow to huge size with the maximum recorded standard length being 270 centimeters (110 in), although they are more common around 180 centimeters (71 in).
And a maximum published weight of 400 kilograms (880 lb). The giant grouper is a species of shallow water and can be found at depths of 1 to 100 meters (3.3 to 328.1 ft).
Large specimens have been caught from shore and in harbors. They are found in caves and in wrecks while the secretive juveniles occur in reefs and are infrequently observed.
The adults are mainly solitary and hold territories on the outer reef and in lagoons. They have also been caught in turbid water over silt or mud sea beds by prawn fishermen.
The giant grouper is an opportunistic ambush predator which feeds on a variety of fishes, as well as small sharks, juvenile sea turtles, crustaceans and mollusks which are all swallowed whole. Fish which inhabit coral reefs and rocky areas favor spiny lobsters as prey and 177 centimeters (70 in) specimen taken of Maui in Hawaii had a stomach contents of two spiny lobsters and a number of crabs.
Fish living in estuaries environments in South Africa were found to be feeding almost exclusively on the crab Scylla errata. They are, however, curious and frequently approach divers closely.
They are not generally considered dangerous to humans but divers are advised to treat large specimens with caution and not to hand feed them. They are aggregate broadcast spawners, usually with several females per male.
Studies in captive populations suggest that the dominant male and female begin the spawning event as nearly the only spawners for the first day or two, but other members of the aggregation fertilize more eggs as the event progresses, with even the most recently turned males fathering offspring. Giant groupers are diabetic protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that although some males develop from reproductively functional females other males start to produce sperm without ever having gone through a phase as a reproductive female.
The giant grouper is a highly valued food fish and is taken by both commercial and recreational fisheries. As well as the consumption of its flesh its skin, gall bladder and stomach are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
It is valued in Hong Kong as a live fish for the live reef food fish trade, especially smaller specimens. This species is cultured in agriculture and this practice is widespread but there is a restricted supply of juveniles, although hatcheries in Taiwan have produced captive bred juveniles, exporting some for to be grown on in other parts of South-East Asia.
Many of the fish produced in aquaculture are hybrids between this species and E. fuscoguttatus. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
“A study into parental assignment of the communal spawning protogynous hermaphrodite, giant grouper (Epimetheus lanceolatus)”. ^ Peter Palma; Akihito Nakamura; Garden XYZ Libunaoa; et al. (2019).
“Reproductive development of the threatened giant grouper Epimetheus lanceolatus “. ^ Scholar, W. N.; Cricket, R. & van der Loan, R.
Red grouper is available year-round with peak catches in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico occurring during the summer and fall. Red grouper flesh is white and lean with a notable lack of bones, and is very forgiving when cooked as it remains moist, firm, and has large flakes.
Red grouper are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they all begin life as a female and eventually some may transform into males. Red grouper have large mouths with a slight under-bite, which allows them to eat their prey whole by dilating their gill covers and rapidly inhaling.
They also frequent areas with live bottom structures such as sponges, corals, and sea squirts. Red grouper act as “marine engineers” in their ecosystem by hollowing out flat-bottomed areas to create their home and attract mates.
This process provides habitat to other species such as spiny lobster, black grouper, red porgy, and vermilion snapper. Their grouper habitat utilization investigation looks at seasonal movement patterns in an attempt to improve populations and fishery management.
The If program allocates shares of the total commercial catch limit amongst individual fishers. Under the program, each fisher owns a share of the quota and can choose to fish it at anytime during the open season.
Strict commercial reporting requirements prevent fishers from harvesting more than their individual allocation. The Reef Fish FMP has been a success in allowing red grouper populations to bounce back from overfishing that had occurred on and off in the Gulf since the 1970s.
They are fairly long-lived and come together to spawn in large numbers, characteristics that make them vulnerable to fishing pressure. The Gulf of Mexico population in the was declared overfished in 2000 and then was rebuilt to target levels in 2007, according to the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service.
The South Atlantic stock is no longer overfished, but a 2010 assessment showed it hasn’t been fully rebuilt. Grouper fisheries have high impacts on nontarget species, the Monterey Bay Aquarium reported.
In the United States, red grouper management measures include permits, annual catch limits, fishing quotas, marine protected areas that are closed to fishing, seasonal closures, gear restrictions, minimum size limits, and data reporting requirements. They're naturally strong fish, but often it's their pure size and weight that makes them difficult to land.
This species of grouper can weight hundreds of pounds, and they're often responsible for broken lines and lost tackle. On Dec. 29, 1998, Ernesto Join landed the biggest broom tail grouper ever caught and certified as an IFA all-tackle record.
Alberto Penalty boated a giant mottled grouper on Aug. 13, 1996, off the east side of Gibraltar (a small country located between Spain and Morocco). William Laser landed the all-tackle record gulf grouper off Lore to in Baja California Sur, Mexico.
Fishing in the Gulf of Mexico off Texas, Tim Ostrich II reeled in a 124-pound black grouper. KOI Yeshiva caught the all-tackle record convict grouper off YAGNI Island in Okinawa, Japan, on April 25, 2011.
This particular species of grouper is considered endangered today and protected in the United States and Caribbean. Courtesy IFA / IFA.org.