They engulf prey whole by opening their large mouths, dilating their gill covers, rapidly drawing in a current of water, and inhaling the food. 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. Annual catch limits are used for red grouper in the commercial and recreational fisheries.
These fisheries are closed when their annual catch limit is projected to be met. 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.
Similar Species: Nassau grouper, E. stratus (large black spot on caudal peduncle) Prefer water temperatures between 66 and 77 degrees F. Like many other grouper, red grouper undergo a sex reversal, young individual females becoming males as they age.
Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Performed Family: Serranidae Subfamily: Epinephrine Genus: Epimetheus Species: Binomial name Epimetheus Mario Synonyms Serra nus Mario Valentines, 1828 Serra nus erythrogaster Delay, 1842 Serra nus lurid us Tanzania, 1842 Serra nus remotes Play, 1860 Serra nus angustifrons Standalone, 1864 The red grouper has a body with a standard length which is 2.6 to 3 times as long as it is deep.
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.
Indian River Lagoon Species Inventory. “Helming parasites of Epimetheus Mario (Pisces: Serranidae) of the Yucatán Peninsula, southeastern Mexico” (PDF).
^ Scholar, W. N.; Cricket, R. & van der Loan, R. They all have a very similar shape defined by a large head and wide mouth perfect for inhaling prey on the reef.
This guide outlines a number of key features to look out for when identifying grouper species. Coloring in black grouper varies but the side of the body typically has rectangular shaped dark gray blotches.
The red grouper can be found over muddy or rocky bottom from Massachusetts to Brazil. The head and body are dark red to brown with some shading to a lighter pinkish color.
Gags are the most common grouper found on rocky bottom, wrecks and rigs in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, in depths from 60 to 250 feet. The gag grouper's coloration varies, but most are a brownish gray with a pattern of dark worm-like or kiss-shaped markings or articulations on the sides.
Also called Jewish, the Goliath is the largest of the groupers, with adults capable of reaching up to 1,000 pounds. Often found within the 12 fathom bottom contour, it favors rocky shores, holes and various structure.
The coloring of the Nassau grouper usually mimics that of the grounds it inhabits, and can range from tawny to pinkish or red with an orange cast. The fish can change colors from almost white to dark brown depending on its mood.
The yellow fin grouper's coloring varies, but the head and body always have oval-shaped dark spots. Found on rocky bottom and coral reefs in Bermuda, Florida, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.
The body of the broom tail grouper varies from brown to gray or grayish green with oblong dark blotches that form a maze-like pattern. Technically a Speckled Hind, this fish prefers rocky bottom in depths from 180 to 300-plus feet in the western Atlantic, from North Carolina to the Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico.
As its name implies, the yellow edge grouper has a yellow outline on its dorsal, tail and pectoral fins. Other defining characteristics include a light grayish brown to red body with bluish white spots.
Found from North Carolina to Brazil in rocky areas and soft bottom. It exhibits a compressed shape with a long pectoral fin and smooth scales.
The snowy grouper is distinguished by its spiny dorsal fin and dark saddle-shaped blotch by the tail that extends below the lateral line. One of the smaller groupers, the Coney is found on coral reefs in subtropical waters throughout the western Atlantic.