The gill cover has a convex upper margin. There are 11 spines and 14-16 soft rays in the dorsal fin while the anal fin has 3 spines and 8 soft rays.
The adults are greyish-brown in color overlain with a mottled pattern and with darker fins. And a maximum published weight of 400 kilograms (880 lb).
The giant grouper is a species of shallow water and can be found at depths of 1 to 100 meters (3.3 to 328.1 ft). Large specimens have been caught from shore and in harbors.
They are found in caves and in wrecks while the secretive juveniles occur in reefs and are infrequently observed. The adults are mainly solitary and hold territories on the outer reef and in lagoons.
They have also been caught in turbid water over silt or mud sea beds by prawn fishermen. The giant grouper is an opportunistic ambush predator which feeds on a variety of fishes, as well as small sharks, juvenile sea turtles, crustaceans and mollusks which are all swallowed whole.
Fish which inhabit coral reefs and rocky areas favor spiny lobsters as prey and 177 centimeters (70 in) specimen taken of Maui in Hawaii had a stomach contents of two spiny lobsters and a number of crabs. Fish living in estuaries environments in South Africa were found to be feeding almost exclusively on the crab Scylla errata.
They are, however, curious and frequently approach divers closely. They are not generally considered dangerous to humans but divers are advised to treat large specimens with caution and not to hand feed them.
They are aggregate broadcast spawners, usually with several females per male. Studies in captive populations suggest that the dominant male and female begin the spawning event as nearly the only spawners for the first day or two, but other members of the aggregation fertilize more eggs as the event progresses, with even the most recently turned males fathering offspring.
Giant groupers are diabetic protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that although some males develop from reproductively functional females other males start to produce sperm without ever having gone through a phase as a reproductive female. The giant grouper is a highly valued food fish and is taken by both commercial and recreational fisheries.
As well as the consumption of its flesh its skin, gall bladder and stomach are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It is valued in Hong Kong as a live fish for the live reef food fish trade, especially smaller specimens.
This species is cultured in agriculture and this practice is widespread but there is a restricted supply of juveniles, although hatcheries in Taiwan have produced captive bred juveniles, exporting some for to be grown on in other parts of South-East Asia. Many of the fish produced in aquaculture are hybrids between this species and E. fuscoguttatus.
Groupers of the world (family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephrine). “A study into parental assignment of the communal spawning protogynous hermaphrodite, giant grouper (Epimetheus lanceolatus)”.
^ Peter Palma; Akihito Nakamura; Garden XYZ Libunaoa; et al. (2019). “Reproductive development of the threatened giant grouper Epimetheus lanceolatus “.
Scientific classification Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Performed Family: Serranidae Subfamily: Epinephrine Genus: Epimetheus Species: Binomial name Epimetheus Tamara Synonyms Promiscuous Tamara (Lichtenstein, 1822) Serra nus Tamara Lichtenstein, 1822 Serra nus Menelik Valentines, 1828 Serra nus gales J.P. Müller & Trochee, 1848 Serra nus guava Play, 1860 Promiscuous one Ehrenberg, 1915 Promiscuous ditto Roux & Collision, 1954 The Atlantic Goliath grouper or Tamara (Epimetheus Tamara), also known as the Jewish, is a large saltwater fish of the grouper family found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs at depths from 5 to 50 m (16 to 164 ft).
Its range includes the Florida Keys in the US, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean and most of the Brazilian coast. On some occasions, it is caught off the coasts of the US states of New England off Maine and Massachusetts.
In the eastern Atlantic Ocean, it occurs from the Congo to Senegal. Young Atlantic Goliath groupers may live in brackish estuaries, oyster beds, canals, and mangrove swamps, which is unusual behavior among groupers.
They may reach extremely large sizes, growing to lengths up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) and can weigh as much as 360 kg (790 lb). The world record for a hook-and-line-captured specimen is 308.44 kg (680.0 lb), caught off Fernanda Beach, Florida, in 1961.
Considered of fine food quality, Atlantic Goliath grouper were a highly sought-after quarry for fishermen. It is a relatively easy prey for spear fishermen because of the grouper's inquisitive and generally fearless nature.
They also tend to spawn in large aggregations, returning annually to the same locations. Until a harvest ban was placed on the species, its population was in rapid decline.
The fish is recognized as “vulnerable” globally and “endangered” in the Gulf of Mexico. The species' population has been recovering since the ban; with the fish's slow growth rate, however, some time will be needed for populations to return to their previous levels.
Goliath groupers are believed to be protogynous hermaphrodites, which refer to organisms that are born female and at some point in their lifespans change sex to male. Males can be sexually mature at about 115 centimeters (45 in), and ages 4–6 years.
In May 2015, the Atlantic Goliath grouper was successfully bred in captivity for the first time. Tidal pools act as nurseries for juvenile E. Tamara.
In tidal pools juvenile E.Tamara are able to utilize rocky crevices for shelter. Besides shelter, tidal pools provide E. Tamara with plenty of prey such as lobster and porcelain crab.
The Atlantic Goliath grouper has historically been referred to as the “Jewish”. It may have referred to the fish's status as inferior leading it to be declared only suitable for Jews, or the flesh having a “clean” taste comparable to kosher food ; it has also been suggested that this name is simply a corruption of jaw fish or the Italian word for “bottom fish”, Giuseppe.
In 2001, the American Fisheries Society stopped using the term because of complaints that it was culturally insensitive. Age, Growth, and Reproduction of Jewish Epimetheus Tamara in the Eastern Gulf of Mexico.
Pseudorhabdosynochus species (Monogenoidea, Diplectanidae) parasitizing groupers (Serranidae, Epinephrine, Epinephrine) in the western Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters, with descriptions of 13 new species”. Wikimedia Commons has media related to Epimetheus Tamara.
Video footage surfaced Friday showing the voracious nature and explosive power of Florida’s massive Goliath groupers. But what stands out in the clip (posted below) is the angler’s hysterical reaction in the moments after a grouper devoured a bonito he had reeled to the surface on light-tackle spinning gear.
In the video Jorgensen says, “The dinner bell is ringing” as his hooked bonito languished at the surface. Oh my gosh!” he exclaims, before laughing uncontrollably as the grouper vanishes into the depths with the bonito.
They’re protected in state and federal waters off Florida, and anglers must release hooked fish as quickly and carefully as possible.