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.
“Helming parasites of Epimetheus Mario (Pisces: Serranidae) of the Yucatán Peninsula, southeastern Mexico” (PDF). Although some populations are below target levels, U.S. wild-caught red grouper is still a smart seafood choice because it is sustainably managed and responsibly harvested under U.S. regulations.
Large sharks and carnivorous marine mammals prey on adult red grouper. Red grouper are found in the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts through the Gulf of Mexico and south to Brazil.
Both the commercial and recreational fisheries have size limits to reduce harvest of immature red grouper. The commercial and recreational fishing seasons are closed from January through April to protect red grouper during their peak spawning period.
To reduce by catch, there are restrictions on the type of gear fishermen may use and where they can fish. Year-round and/or seasonal area closures for commercial and recreational sectors to protect spawning groupers.
The majority of media and political attention is focused on red snapper, but there are several other reef fish in the Gulf of Mexico that are of commercial and recreational importance. Fishermen are putting our heads together to independently address this issue instead of waiting for politics and management to catch up.
Are we catching less red grouper because the red snapper population has expanded as it recovers? Thanks to successful management under the Magnuson-Stevens Act, red snapper populations are rebounding and their range is expanding.
Solving the problem of a declining of red grouper population is not going to be an easy task, but I have confidence that our collaboration between industry, scientists, and managers, together with the best-available science mandated by Magnuson-Stevens, can successfully recover the red grouper fishery. Paul Lough ridge is a commercial fisherman and owner of four boats out of Crystal River, Florida.
He’s been fishing for over 25 years, starting with grouper and snapper, then expanding into stone crab. When fishermen talk about their favorite tasting fish that can be caught off the coast of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico, most agree that sushi-grade tuna, Yahoo, and mahi-mahi are the top choices.
We agree that all three of those fish taste great, but we’d argue that another should be added to the list: Grouper. Grouper tastes very mild, with a faint sweet underlying flavor.
They are brown and love living close to coastal rock piles and underwater wreckage. Red grouper are red and live in slightly deeper water than the gag grouper.
Because of their unwary nature and large size, they were almost fished to extinction before being placed on the protected endangered species list. Red grouper tends to taste slightly milder, however black grouper grow larger and have more accessible fillets.
Black grouper also tends to have firmer meat that holds up better to frying or more intense preparations. Both fish have the signature grouper mild sweet flavor, and both have a moderate amount of oil that keeps their texture favorable even if slightly overcooked.
If you’re bottom fishing from a boat, we recommend drifting instead of anchoring near where the grouper are. Drifting will allow you to cover more area and bet your grouper lures in front of more fish.
Since grouper live in and around rocks, set your drag tight to prevent them from running back into cover. If you let a grouper take your bait then retreat to its rocky home, chances are your line will snap against the rocks.
In a large pan, throw in a knob of butter and sear the filet son each side for 2 minutes. Fried grouper tastes very similar to cod or other whitefish, and is amazing when prepared fresh.
Dredge your grouper sticks first through the flour, then through the eggs, and finally the pinko. Chances are you’ll catch one and end up with a tasty dish you can cook for dinner that night.