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Do Goliath Groupers Eat Sharks

author
David Lawrence
• Tuesday, 17 November, 2020
• 8 min read

Photograph by Raul Toulon, National Geographic Creative The Atlantic Goliath grouper (Epimetheus Tamara) isn’t the meanest or fastest fish on the reef. Though the Atlantic Goliath grouper can grow up to 800 pounds (363 kilograms) and eight feet (2.4 meters) in length, it subsists almost entirely on smallish mud crabs.

goliath grouper eats bite shark florida beach firstcoastnews
(Source: www.firstcoastnews.com)

Contents

“From all available data, Goliath grouper do not eat sharks,” said Dr. Matthew Craig, a National Geographic grantee and marine biologist at the University of San Diego in California. Christopher Koenig, a biologist from Florida State University, confirms that groupers preying on sharks is unlikely under normal conditions.

While some fishermen say goliathgroupers have bounced back since then and should be taken off the Endangered Species List, most conservationists agree that the slow-growing giants are still recovering. Watch video of goliathgroupers up close with photographer David Doublet, who shot the images for a story on this fish in the July issue of National Geographic magazine.

The moment a Goliath grouper eating a shark was captured on camera as shocked fishermen look on. The skeletal structure of large goliathgroupers cannot adequately support their weight out of the water without some type of damage,” the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FCC) stated on its website.

“If a large Goliath is brought onboard a vessel or out of the water, it is likely to sustain some form of internal injury and therefore be considered harvested.” In another incident years ago, a grouper was spotted eating a blacktop shark.

(Break.com)The predator was identified as an Atlantic Goliath grouper, which can weigh as much as 790 pounds and can grow up to 8.2 feet in length. The fishermen hooked the shark off the coast of Bonita Springs, Florida, several years ago before the grouper took over.

grouper shark goliath eats fish cw33 giant
(Source: cw33.com)

“They were once so overfished in the southeastern United States, they were considered for listing under the Endangered Species Act,” according to NOAA. They’re found in shallow tropical waters near coral reefs, and its range extends from the Florida Keys to the Gulf of Mexico.

But, “On some occasions, Goliath grouper have been caught off the coast of New England in Massachusetts and Maine. In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, Goliath grouper are found off the coast of Africa from the Congo to Senegal,” says NOAA.

“Threats to the species include commercial and recreational fishing, harmful algal blooms (red tide), and habitat loss,” says the NOAA website. Black owns Crazy Lure Bait & Tackle Shop in Cape Coral, Florida.

So Black could still hold the unofficial record for largest grouper caught in a kayak. The IFA all-tackle rod and reel world record for Goliath Grouper (formerly known as Jewish) was a 680lb0oz fish caught in Fernanda Beach, Florida back in 1961, and that record hasn’t ever been tested in America because these fish are protected.

After checking out their website it looks like they’re super legit, and put their guests on fish every time out. However, during reproduction (immediately after the full moons between June and December), they come together in groups of at least 100 individuals.

grouper goliath shark whole swallows swallowed sharks caught
(Source: animalbreeze.com)

These groups are known as spawning aggregations, and they form at relatively few places throughout the species’ range. Though they were likely naturally rare, scientists believe that destructive fishing practices have reduced the numbers of the Atlantic goliathgroupers by at least 80% and that the species is now critically endangered.

These fish utilize the same, few locations and same, few days for spawning every year, so their presence is quite predictable. Furthermore, a total lack of fear of people makes them an easy target for spear fishers.

Finally, the Atlantic Goliath grouper’s large size, slow growth, and ease of capture all contribute to slow its recovery, even where laws have been put in place to give it some or complete legal protection from fishing (e.g., in the USA and Brazil). It is important to continue to monitor Atlantic Goliath grouper population trends in order to determine whether the species is recovering or if stronger legal protection may be required.

The two species are similar in both appearance and behavior, but little is known about the population trends or conservation status of the Pacific Goliath grouper. Southern stingrays, a green moray eel, and two sea turtles also share this exciting exhibit.

Sand tiger sharks are found in the shallow, coastal tropical waters of all oceans except the central and eastern Pacific. Diet This nocturnal hunter feeds on bony fish, small sharks and rays, octopus, and large crustaceans.

grouper shark eats goliath meal national slurps typical down geographic
(Source: voices.nationalgeographic.com)

Unique Adaptations Sand tiger sharks are often found in groups of a few dozen, hovering in caves or near reefs or shipwrecks. Sand tigers migrate, coming toward shore during the summer and moving southward or to deeper waters in the winter.

Reproduction Female sand tiger sharks are viviparous (producing living young from eggs that hatch within the body). Southern stingrays inhabit temperate waters of bays and estuaries from New Jersey to Brazil, as well as the Gulf of Mexico.

Diet Rays feed on a wide variety of bottom organisms, such as crustaceans (shrimp and crab), mollusks (snails and shellfish), and worms. Development is viviparous (pups hatch from their egg capsules while inside the mother’s uterus and are born soon after).

In the early spring and summer, females may leave the water and return to their home beach to nest. Kemp’s Ridley sea turtles are carnivores, feeding on crabs, mollusks, jellyfish, mussels, and fish.

Unique Adaptations Streamlined bodies and flippers make these large animals powerful swimmers and divers-some species routinely diving to depths greater than 1,000 feet and staying underwater for several hours. Unlike their freshwater relatives, sea turtles have a special gland that rids their bodies of excess salts.

goliath grouper shark
(Source: www.ajc.com)

These events are called an “arrived” and take place on a small strip of beach at Ranch Nero, Mexico. Their populations have declined due to commercial harvest of turtle meat, eggs, skins for leather, and shells for ornaments and jewelry.

They die from ingesting marine debris, such as plastic bags, or get caught in nets as by catch and drown. Moray eels are found in tropical reefs and shallows from New Jersey to Brazil, including Bermuda and the Gulf of Mexico.

Nocturnal and shy by nature, green morays often hide in crevices and holes in corals. They feed on fish and crustaceans, especially crabs, and use their long, slender bodies to enter holes and crevices in search of hidden prey.

Despite warning predators with a large open mouth and sharp teeth, morays are not aggressive and do not usually bite unless provoked. Moray eels begin adult life as males, then later change to females (sex reversal).

Cobra can be found on the western coast of the Atlantic from Massachusetts to Argentina, often in open waters. They frequently follow large animals like sea turtles, sharks, and rays to scavenge leftovers.

grouper shark goliath eats bite bonita capture
(Source: www.news-press.com)

They live in the tropical and temperate waters of the Atlantic Ocean, along the eastern coast of the U.S. and south to Brazil and Uruguay. Jacks are typically light, usually silver with red pigmentation which disappears in dark ocean water.

Diet These strong-swimming carnivores rely on speed and strength to catch their prey, which includes small fish, cope pods, and other ocean animals. Unique Adaptations Jacks are often found swimming with sharks, but when roaming the open sea they school as a defense mechanism.

Jacks can also be seen hitching a free ride in the bow wake of their predatory “companions.” Juveniles hide among jellyfish, debris, plants, etc, and have a deeper and sleeker appearance then the adults. They prefer the sheltered habitats of coral reefs, and especially shady areas such as shipwrecks, rock ledges, and caves.

Atlantic Goliath grouper have a broad, flat head and mouth, and can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh over 700 pounds. These hunters are not built for speed over long distances and prefer to ambush prey, rather than pursue it in open water.

The diet of these large predators consists mainly of crab, lobster, fish, octopus, and young sea turtles. Habits and Adaptations Atlantic goliathgroupers are often spotted or dark, allowing them to camouflage with their surroundings.

shark grouper goliath fish swallowed swallows bite
(Source: www.unknownlist.com)

Small groupers may be preyed upon by barracuda, king mackerel, moray eels, and sharks. When threatened, an Atlantic Goliath grouper will defend its territory with aggressive body language and a distinctly audible rumbling sound.

These puffer fish primarily inhabit coral reefs and other warm shallow waters. Usually brown, with some yellow on the underside, these stocky, slow swimming fishes have a large head and a “box-shaped” body.

Diet Porcupine fish use their strong beaks to crush coral polyps, mollusks, crustaceans, crabs, and sea urchins. Unique Adaptations Puffers hide in coral and as their name implies, can puff up two to three times their normal size by sucking air or water into a special chamber in their abdomen.

Puffers employ a number of defenses to avoid getting eaten: they are covered with sharp spines, their internal organs contain an extremely toxic nerve poison, and when cornered they can bury themselves in the sand. This important food fish can be found in warm coastal waters, from Massachusetts to Brazil, including Bermuda and the Gulf of Mexico.

They have a triangular-shaped head and a notched tail, and are capable of inflicting injuries to unsuspecting fishermen with their well-developed teeth. Tarpon are found in tropical and temperate waters along the eastern Atlantic coasts of North and South America.

shark eat sharks basking they
(Source: www.thescottishsun.co.uk)

Unique Adaptations When swimming in oxygen-poor water, tarpons can gulp air from the surface using special lung-like bladders. Initially the young head to shallow water where they become an intricate part of the plankton that drifts with ocean currents far from shore.

Trigger fish usually spend a large portion of their lives near a coral reef-inhabiting areas in coastal waters from New York to Brazil. Small eyes set high on a large, angular head and jaw give them a “bucktoothed” appearance.

Diet Trigger fish have powerful jaws and teeth that allow them to easily crush hard-shelled prey like crustaceans, mollusks, coral, and sea urchins. The Queen trigger fish will blow mouthfuls of water at sea urchins to flip them over and expose their softer underparts.

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Sources
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3 sportfishinglures.com - https://sportfishinglures.com/best-bait-for-red-snapper-and-grouper/
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10 www.liveabout.com - https://www.liveabout.com/gag-grouper-fishing-tips-2929544