But you may be surprised to learn that large grouper will also eat sharks ! It’s known that killer whales will attack and kill great white sharks.
Apart from these large whales, there aren’t many other sea creatures that are big enough to eat sharks. But it turns out that grouper have an appetite for younger sharks too.
During a deep sea dive off the South Carolina coast, NOAA scientists filmed a shark swallowed whole. Watch how these young sharks feed on a saw-fish that’s died and sunk to the bottom.
There’s a bit of a feeding frenzy going on by these small sharks. But it’s not just these sharks that draw the attention of the NOAA scientists.
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.
“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 Goliath groupers 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 Goliath groupers 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 Goliath groupers 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.
As Business Insider noted, Goliath groupers are known to stalk and ambush divers. “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. According to YouTube user Gimbb14, a Goliath grouper had been circling his boat for about an hour, even appearing to inspect some of his other catches before the attack.
The video was taken while the user was fishing off the coast of Bonita Springs, Florida this month. Goliath groupers can grow to about 8 feet long and weigh 800 pounds, but they don’t normally eat sharks.
A typical grouper diet will include spiny lobsters, shrimp, crab, stingrays and young sea turtles. While diving in 80-foot deep waters off the coast of Jupiter, Florida, spear fisherman Arif Saber had a standoff with a seemingly fearless and ferocious Goliath grouper, which Grind TV estimated was 300- to 400-pounds.
Saber had just caught a lesser amber jack with his spearfish gun, he told Grind TV, when he noticed the large grouper eyeing him and closing the distance in between them. The video, shot by his wife using a GoPro 3, shows the hefty fish as he nips at the man's flipper, tearing it off, and then goes straight for his catch with its powerful jaw.
But, even if the diver wasn't familiar with that specific size of this type of fish, Goliath groupers have been known to roam western Atlantic waters near Florida. In June of each year, the southern channel of Jakarta Atoll in the Tuamotu Archipelago of French Polynesia hosts one of the densest populations of sharks in the world.
Sharks equipped with sound wave transmitters are “tracked” using 25 acoustic receivers installed at the bottom of the pass (on the right in the photo). The project took on greater scope when Ballista and his team decided to film a new documentary, this time specifically about the gray reef sharks.
So we gradually dove lower, until we found ourselves right in the middle of the pack.” The resulting video sequences, which are unlike anything previously seen, reveal little-known aspects of the lives of gray reef sharks. Jakarta’s southern channel has a mild current that enables the development of an entire ecosystem, including coral, fish and mollusks, offering an ideal habitat for gray sharks.
“They rest during the day, floating in a ‘wall of sharks,’ all facing the same direction, with their heads into the current,” Courier reports. For example, some of them would dive to the bottom of the channel and allow the small cleaner fish there (wrasse) to pick out the parasites between their teeth.
The transmitters implanted in the abdomens of certain sharks, show that the animals form “teams” of two or three, staying near each other during the entire hunting period. Sharks are poor hunters and prefer to stalk their prey at night, reaching a peak of activity during a full moon and a bright sky.
The images have already allowed him to identify an impressive number of possible food sources for the gray reef shark: it feeds on some 50 different species of fish and mollusks! Although the aggregation of groupers during the full moon in June is an especially active feeding time for the sharks, whose population peaks during this period, the Jakarta channel is also a mass spawning ground for many other species (surgeon fish, parrot fish, etc.
“If you turn a shark over on its back, it immediately enters a state of tonic immobility, a kind of trance during which it doesn’t move,” Courier explains. “Laurent Ballista had the idea of catching the gray reef sharks underwater with a lasso, so we could flip them over and pull them to the side of the boat in that position.” After a bit of practice, this rather athletic tagging technique proved effective, and also allowed the researchers to attach the above-mentioned cameras to the sharks fins.
The biologist Johann Courier and underwater photographer Laurent Ballista plunged into the midst of these predators, recording their adventure in a recent documentary. A YouTube video of the catch shows the fishermen reeling in a 4-foot black-tip shark off the coast of Bonita Springs, Florida -- only to have the huge fish rush in and eat it in one fell swoop.
A divemaster off the coast of St. Kits spears lionfish (an invasive species in the Caribbean) and feeds them to sharks to teach them to seek out the fish as prey. The lionfish invasion is considered to be one of the most serious recent threats to the Caribbean and Florida coral reef ecosystems.
Culling by marine protection agencies and volunteer divers is an important element of control efforts. During our diving at St. Kits, we witnessed that sharks are also capable of preying on lionfish with no ill effects from their spines.
Development of market-based approaches, which create commercial incentives for removals, has also been seen as a means to sustain control efforts. Another control method is the use of lionfish spines, fins and tails for jewelry and other decorative items.