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Do Grouper Fish Change Colors

author
James Smith
• Monday, 09 November, 2020
• 12 min read

Common Name grouper Kingdom Animalia Phylum Chordata Class Osteichthyes Order Performed Family Serranidae Genus Species Epimetheus SPP. Diet Other fishes, squids, and crustaceans Incubation Oviparous (egg laying) Sexual Maturity No data Life Span Relatively long-lived; some groupers have lived at SeaWorld, San Diego for more than 30 years Range Varies by species Habitat Varies by species Population GLOBAL No data Status IUCN: Several species listed as Vulnerable or Threatened CITES: Not listed Uses: Not listed Some fish in this family can grow to incredible sizes, such as the Jewish (Epimetheus Tamara) of the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Queensland grouper (E. lanceolatus) of Australia.

grouper fishtrack identifier features
(Source: www.fishtrack.com)

Contents

Some groupers are so huge that when they open their mouths to feed, they create a suction that is powerful enough to inhale small prey. In addition to their possible great size, another defense that some groupers have is the ability to change the color of their skin.

The Caribbean Coney (Cephalopods vulva) demonstrates a more advanced color shift. If disturbed, the Caribbean Coney will try to hide in a coral crevice, which normally has a white, sandy bottom.

To blend in with this environment, this fish alters its color so that its lower body fades to white and its spots contract to tiny pinpoints. Other groupers have developed color patterns composed of stripes, spots, or blotches that help them to blend in with the bottom of coral reef areas.

All young yellow mouth groupers (Mycteroperca interstitial is) are born females, but as they grow larger they change into males. Only small percentages survive long enough to become a male, thus ensuring the greater majority are egg-laying females.

Even more surprising, some in the genus Serra nus are rare examples of fishes that can be male and female at the same time. In the United States, Jewish and Nassau groupers (E. stratus) are protected from all harvesting.

grouper goliath fish cuba chance gives science second range lopez fernandez reef overfishing grow
(Source: www.pewtrusts.org)

Anyway, he started swimming away almost immediately, turned white with large black stripes vertically right before my eyes. My dive buddy, although close, didn't see what I was seeing and without a slate to explain my surprise, she wouldn't have known anyway.

Well, as I watched this grouper swims a little way ahead settle down into another little niche, it turned completely white with black spots. I had never even heard of groupers changing color, much less see one right before my eyes.

# of Dives: 500 – 999 Location: Silicon Valley, CA / New Bedford, MA / Kira, Maui Many fish change colors for things like mating, fighting/aggressive/territorial warning, hunting, particularly doing cooperative hunting with another species. One becomes the male and turns a lovely blue colour, and he has a harem of chicks.

Almost exactly as you describe it... would have to get my log book out, but location was probably around Invisible or Red Slave? # of Dives: 200 – 499 Location: Raymond, NH In the above pictures he changed back to white after I swam by.

# of Dives: 2,500 – 4,999 Location: Santa Catalina Island, CA Yep, I've observed the same color changes in groupers in the Caribbean and Florida. # of Dives: 200 – 499 Location: Makarios, HI I believe I saw my grouper around Tori's Reef.

grouper goliath groupers
(Source: grouperluna.wordpress.com)

I thought I was nuts but when I saw it turn back to flat, dark black I knew I wasn't going crazy. Nice pics Cecil, I wish I would have had the good fortune to get the many changes on a vid or something.

The Ten A Thousand Islands area of Southwest Florida is one of few locations in the world where Goliath grouper have reestablished a viable population. Read below to learn more about Goliath grouper, the history of its declining and recovering population, and how you can get involved as fisheries scientists continue to research and manage this species.

Juvenile Goliath are typically more brown or tan with a more noticeable pattern of dark, blotched, vertical lines. Once they reach reproductive age, Goliath grouper form large aggregations of 100 or more individuals during the summer spawning months of July, August, and September.

These aggregations gather at shallow ledge or shoreline sites such as the mangrove forests of Ten A Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Threats Several life history traits of Goliath grouper make the species particularly vulnerable to the pressure of overfishing.

These traits include late sexual maturity, large and predictable spawning aggregations in shallow inshore waters, and strong refuge site fidelity. For example, found approximately two hours north of Ten A Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge, Tampa Bay is one of the largest ports in the United States.

fish changing skin india
(Source: weather.com)

It is estimated that over the past 100 years the area has lost over 44% of its mangroves and salt marshes due to heavy human development and traffic. Coral reefs are susceptible to degradation through natural factors including hurricanes, El Niño events, and diseases.

Reefs are also degraded through human action such as overfishing, damaging fishing practices, development, pollution, ocean acidification, and irresponsible tourism. Once abundant and growing to massive, reproductively mature sizes, Goliath grouper have suffered significant population declines attributed to overfishing and habitat loss.

While the species is showing clear signs of recovery in South Florida, the true status of the population remains uncertain. Based on recovery trends throughout the past decade, Goliath grouper are no longer classified as a species of concern in U.S. waters.

Yet, Goliath grouper remain vulnerable to the pressures of overfishing and habitat loss as the long-lived species slowly rebuilds. With uncertain population dynamics, the harvest moratorium for this species remains in place and Goliath grouper are considered endangered in global waters by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

A Black Grouper at Colombia Shallows in Cozumel Mexico. Watch how he tries to blend in with the school of smaller fish behind him.

grouper goliath endangered critically fwc florida wildlife fish fishing conservation protect change commission
(Source: www.change.org)

The Peacock Hind is a large, deep bodied fish, covered with small, bright, blue spots edged in black. Peacock Hinds have small eyes that are mounted near the top of the head, which is typical for editorial fish.

They can reach 17” (44 cm) and groupers are known to live from 9 to 37 in the wild, possibly longer in captivity with proper care. Peacock Hinds were introduced in the 1950s to the Hawaiian Islands as a possible food source, although today, most carry ciguatera poisoning (causes neurological disease) and they are off the menu in this area.

The Cephalopods genus, commonly referred to as “Hinds,” contain smaller species of groupers which are more appropriate for home aquariums. They range in size from around 9” to 22.5,” and at least 8 of these species range from 9 to 11.8.” The Peacock Hind, sometimes referred to as the Blue spotted Grouper, can be confused with the Blue spotted Hind, mainly due to the fact that both have bright blue spots.

Upon closer examination, the Peacock Hind has a wide, bright, blue edging on the fins. The coolest behavior observed by the Peacock Hind is how it will follow octopuses and Gray Morays who are foraging for food.

If one of them flushes out a prey fish, the Peacock Hind will get a free dinner! Peacock Hinds will also hide within large schools of Parrot fish which enables them to get very close to their pray without being seen.

(Source: www.pinterest.com)

The second challenge would be filtration, since groupers are big eaters, and produce copious amounts of waste, requiring a good quality oversized skimmer and two canister filters like Exam or Fluvial, cleaned twice as often as the directions suggest keeping them working effectively. A slender fish and even eels that are the same length as your Peacock Hind will be consumed.

At times, they will try to eat a fish they can’t quite get down their throat, and the aquarium will have to lend a hand to extract the unfortunate tank mate. Other tank mates are safest if they are deep bodied and of similar size or larger.

If attempting to keep with cleaner shrimp from the Lyman or Steno pus genus, add them first. Peacock Hinds need to be the last fish added to an aggressive community tank.

This video helps to demonstrate the enormity of the Peacock Hinds, as you watch an Emperor Angelfish swim by in the background! They are covered from nose to tail fin in bright blue spots that are edged in black, except the area of the chest in front of the pectoral fins, which is spotless.

This is an excellent example of how tiny juvenile Peacock Hinds, or Blue Spot Groupers can be! Add as the last member of an aggressive community reef or fish only tank and provide places for them to hide.

grouper fishtrack identifier features
(Source: www.fishtrack.com)

Other creatures they have been known to consume, according to the region are Dusky Tangs (Acanthus nigrofuscus), Convict Tangs (A. Triostegus), Purple Tangs (Nebraska Tantrum), Sail fin Tangs (Z. Desjardinii), Orange Bristle tooth Tangs (Ctenochaetus stratus), Iridescent Cardinal Fish (Aragon kallopterus), Orange Lined Trigger fish (Baristas undulates), Red Speckled Pennies (Cirripectes various), Arc Eye Hawkish (Paracirrhites arcades), Six-line Wrasses (Pseudocheilinus hexataenia), Pterocaesio Tile fish, Hawaiian Squirrel fish (Sargocentron xantherythrus), Belted Wrasses (Stethojulis Alberta), Lyre tail Antics (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), Plunger’s Wrasse (Thalassemia klunzingeri), Sweepers, Blue Green Chromes (Chromes irides), Pseudogrammas, Mackerels, Gobi es, Gray Morays (Sidereal rise), Dam selfish, crabs, decayed shrimp, mantis shrimp, and spiny lobsters. Those long prey fish /eels will coil up in the stomach of the Peacock Hind until digested.

As adults, Peacock Hinds are found alone, or in harems that consist of one male with as many as six females. They will first perform lateral displays and open their huge mouths to intimidate their opponent.

If a rival grouper wants to fight, both fish will face each other and lock jaws for up to 5 minutes! The loser, typically the weaker fish, will then swim off, leaving the harem of females for the victor.

Some websites suggest the tank needs to be 250 gallons, and this is not out of the question, especially if you are considering more than one grouper, since these large fish produce a lot of waste and higher water volume will help keep up the water quality. The tank should have a heavy duty skimmer due to the large amount of waste this fish produces.

Feeding groupers fresh water fish will cause health issues if continued for too long. Do not house them with other Peacock Hinds, although they will be fine with other groupers as long as the tank is large enough.

fish grouper yellow adult lyretail edged change species freshmarine
(Source: www.pinterest.com)

Some websites suggest the tank needs to be 250 gallons, and this is not out of the question, since these large fish produce a lot of waste and higher water volume will help keep up the water quality. The tank should have a heavy duty skimmer due to the large amount of waste this fish produces.

Feeding groupers fresh water fish will cause health issues if continued for too long. Do not house them with other Peacock Hinds, although they will be fine with other groupers as long as the tank is large enough.

Once they are eating, quickly switch over to prepared foods such as freeze-dried or frozen krill, mys id shrimp and pellets for carnivores. Also offer a varied diet of raw crustacean and fish flesh which can be obtained from the grocery store.

Groupers are hardy and fairly easy to keep, although they do need good filtration. Large Tanks 100 gallons and over, once water is aged and stable can be changed 20% to 30% every 6 weeks depending on bio load.

Large Tanks 100 gallons and over, once water is aged and stable can be changed 10% bi-weekly to 20% monthly, depending on bio load. In a 180 gallon tank (681 liters), arrange live rock, forming several places for the Peacock Hind to hide, especially if the fish is a juvenile.

grouper peacock illustration line cephalopholis argus enlarge
(Source: www.inkart.net)

Each grouper in the tank will need 2 places to hide to help tone down aggression. They may be induced to spawn indoors if they are conditioned with more feedings, then the temperature is raised 2F, and there is a longer daylight period.

Peacock Hinds, although found in harems in the wild, are best kept singly in a captive environment. In very large 500 to 1000 gallon systems, outside saltwater ponds or public aquariums, a few females can be kept with a male.

Also, arrange the live rock to provide barriers where their vision of each other is blocked from their normal hangout. Keep Peacock Hinds with fish of similar size if they are not as deep bodied, such as tangs and trigger fish who should be at least 13” long and fish who are deep bodied like butterfly fish and angelfish who are at least 7” long.

The only time the Peacock Hind becomes a threat, is if it is full-grown and these other fish are not, and they fit in their mouth! Figure out what kind of water quality you can maintain and only buy corals that are not picky.

Peacock Hinds have a much larger territory than many other groupers, which on average, is over 16,000 square feet! Males will spawn with each of the four or five females in the same night, with both releasing their gametes into the water column.

fish changing
(Source: www.doovi.com)

A culture was done on wild-caught groupers and there were 11 to 16 different species of parasites found on their bodies, including nematodes and cryptocaryon. The most easily cured parasite is Crypt (salt water ICH), but they are all treatable if caught in a timely manner.

ONEMA is often contracted when the aquarium doesn’t lower their salinity to the proper level of 1.009. The ONEMA parasite thrives in mid-level brackish water salinity, which is a specific gravity of around 1.013 to 1.020.

Quick Cure and other 37% Formalin products will work perfectly well in both salinity ranges, but the lower 1.009 will help with the oxygen level. Anything you add to your tank from another system that has not been properly cleaned or quarantined, including live rock, corals, equipment and fish can introduce diseases.

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Sources
1 www.fisheries.noaa.gov - https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/nassau-grouper
2 www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu - https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/epinephelus-striatus/
3 foodsanddiet.com - https://foodsanddiet.com/nassau-grouper/
4 proangler.us - https://proangler.us/fishdirectory/grouper-nassau/
5 www.floridiannature.com - https://www.floridiannature.com/Grouper.htm
6 www.carnival.com - https://www.carnival.com/awaywego/travel/bahamas/bahamian-cuisine-what-to-eat-in-the-bahamas
7 ourmarinespecies.com - http://ourmarinespecies.com/c-fishes/groupers/