Black grouper are found in the western Atlantic from Massachusetts to Brazil. They are particularly associated with the southern Gulf of Mexico, Florida Keys, Cuba, the Bahamas, and throughout the Caribbean.
Both the commercial and recreational fisheries have size limits to reduce harvest of immature black grouper. The commercial and recreational fishing seasons are closed from January through April to protect black grouper during their peak spawning period.
Minimum size limits protect immature black grouper. Year-round and/or seasonal area closures for commercial and recreational sectors to protect spawning groupers.
Groupers are managed separately by commercial and recreational sector in Puerto Rico. Seasonal closure for black, red, tiger, yellow fin, and yellow edge groupers from February 1 through April 30.
Similar Species: Gag, M. microbes (spur on properly is serrated); and yellow fin grouper, M. Vanessa (pectoral fins trimmed in bright yellow) Adults are associated with rocky bottoms, reef, and drop off walls in water over 60 feet deep.
They are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that young predominantly female who transform into males as they grow larger. Larger individuals of this species are generally found in greater depths, and they feed on fish and squid.
Mycteroperca Monaco Near Threatened (IUCN 3.1) Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Performed Family: Serranidae Subfamily: Epinephrine Genus: Mycteroperca Species: Binomial name Mycteroperca Monaco Synonyms Monaco Ararat Parr, 1787 Serra nus Monaco Play, 1860 Serra nus runners Play, 1860 Serra nus decimals Play, 1860 Serra nus Ararat Store, 1860 Serra nus cyclopomatus Play, 1861 Serra nus latepictus Play, 1861 Isotropic again Play, 1867 Mycteroperca Monaco var.
Myctoperca Monaco has an oblong, literally compressed body with a standard length which is 3.3 to 3.5 times its depth. It has an evenly rounded properly with no incisions or lobes at its angle.
The caudal fin is truncate to marginate, although it may be convex if spread widely. This species has an overall t’s an olive gray color and is marked with dark blotches and brassy hexagonal spots over the head and flanks.
This fish attains a maximum total length of 150 centimeters (59 in), although they are more common at around 70 centimeters (28 in) and a maximum published weight of 100 kilograms (220 lb). Mycteroperca Monaco occurs over rocky bottoms and coral reefs at depths of 10 to 30 meters (33 to 98 ft), however in the eastern Gulf of Mexico it is normally encountered at depths of more than 30 meters (98 ft).
It is usually a solitary species, the adults feeding mainly on fishes, such as grunts, snapper and herrings, and the juveniles feed on crustaceans. Black groupers have been recorded forming seasonal feeding aggregations along the outer continental shelf off Brazil, these coincide with spawning aggregations of some fish species the groupers prey on.
They are is a monastic protogynous hermaphrodites, and they form spawning aggregations and these have been reported from in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Females attain sexual maturity at around 5years old and at a length of around 82.6 centimeters (32.5 in) and the change of sex to males occurs when they are around 15 years old and at a mean length of 121.4 centimeters (47.8 in).
Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephrine). An annotated and illustrated catalog of the grouper, rock cod, hind, coral grouper and lyre tail species known to date (PDF).
It is also present in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, including the Florida Keys and Cuba. Description The black grouper is a large hearty fish with a protruding lower jaw.
It has an ob longed body shape and rounded margins on the dorsal and anal fins. The caudal fin is squared-off, truncate (convex if widely spread) to slightly marginated.
The preopercule is evenly rounded without the presence of a notch or projecting bony lobe at angle, which distinguishes it from the gag grouper. Groupers have several sets of strong, slender teeth that act as rappers.
The black grouper has head and body coloration olive to gray or dark brown along with 7 or 8 columns of rectangular dark blotches and small hexagonal bronze or brassy spots on its head and lower side separated by a bluish white reticulum (some brassy spots join to form chain-like horizontal streaks). The borders of the soft dorsal, anal, and caudal fin are black or bluish with dark margin.
Big fish may roam to much shallower patch reefs, especially in cooler seasons. Juvenile black groupers are also found in seagrass beds, in mangrove areas, may also frequent creeks, especially in the Bahamas.
Adult black grouper feed primarily on other smaller reef fishes, including grunts, snapper, and herrings. Later in life, some fish will change from male to female so the population can reproduce.
The meat generates a fairly high price and is considered very good quality. They could be caught with hook-and-line and in traps using Drifting, Still Fishing or Trolling and considered best sporting game quality of the Groupers.
Pinkish and Pilchards are good too, as are Mullet heads and other large cut baits. Best casting lures are Deadhead jigs, weighing from 1-4 ounces, depending on depth.
Trolling over the reefs with rigged, swimming Mullet, feather-and-strip combos, and large plugs also takes many. The extra lean white meat is firm and moist with large flake and a sweet, mild flavor.
Fish caught from coastal waters off Islamabad, Florida, January 2016. Fish caught from coastal waters off southwest Florida, December 2014.
Catch, photograph and identification courtesy of Ben Cantrell, San Diego, California. The Backgrounder, Mycteroperca Monaco, is a member of the Grouper or Epinephelidae Family, and is known in Mexico as China grille.
Globally, there are fifteen species in the genus Mycteroperca, of which eleven are found in Mexican waters, seven in the Atlantic and four in the Pacific Ocean. The Backgrounder has an elongated, robust, and compressed body with a depth that is 27% to 31% of standard length.
Their head has a long snout, a projecting lower jaw and the properly is evenly rounded (a key to identification). Juveniles are found in estuaries seagrass, mangroves, and oyster rubble.
The transition normally occurs in fish that are 1.0 m (3 feet 3 inches) in length and about fifteen years in age. Reproduction is oviparous and occurs with seasonal spawning aggregations with large numbers of individuals.
The Backgrounder is poorly studied with very limited information available about their lifestyle and behavioral patterns including specific details on age, growth, longevity, movement patterns, diet, habitat use, and reproduction. The Backgrounder is a resident of all Mexican waters of the Atlantic Ocean including the Gulf of Mexico and the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Caribbean.
From a conservation perspective the Backgrounder is currently considered to be NEAR THREATENED with a 30% decline in populations over the last ten years. Historically they have been heavily targeted by both commercial and recreational fishermen, especially when they aggregate for spawning.