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Goliath Grouper Fun Facts

author
David Lawrence
• Thursday, 24 December, 2020
• 10 min read

The Goliath, Epimetheus Tamara, is the largest grouper in the western hemisphere, and can reach 8 feet in length and more than 1,000 pounds. A 4.6-foot-long female caught at a spawning aggregation contained 57 million eggs.

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Contents

For a few weeks each year, spawning aggregations of up to 100 goliathgrouper occur at specific times and locations. Small (under 4 feet, or five to six years old) goliathgrouper live around mangroves; larger adults prefer coral reefs.

Forty percent of goliathgrouper caught in Belize had mercury levels exceeding the U. S.-recommended levels for human consumption. These adaptable fish can live in brackish water and tolerate low oxygen levels.

A goliathgrouper ’s age can be estimated using annual growth rings in its dorsal fin rays, much like those found within tree trunks. Survival is threatened by overfishing and loss of the inshore mangrove habitat required by juveniles.

Despite having teeth, goliathgrouper engulf and swallow prey whole. The Goliath, Epimetheus Tamara, is the largest grouper in the western hemisphere, and can reach 8 feet in length and more than 1,000 pounds.

A 4.6-foot-long female caught at a spawning aggregation contained 57 million eggs. For a few weeks each year, spawning aggregations of up to 100 goliathgrouper occur at specific times and locations.

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Small (under 4 feet, or five to six years old) goliathgrouper live around mangroves; larger adults prefer coral reefs. These adaptable fish can live in brackish water and tolerate low oxygen levels.

A goliathgrouper ’s age can be estimated using annual growth rings in its dorsal fin rays, much like those found within tree trunks. Survival is threatened by overfishing and loss of the inshore mangrove habitat required by juveniles.

Despite having teeth, goliathgrouper engulf and swallow prey whole. Being extremely large saltwater fish, Goliath Groupers are found in shallow tropical waters abundant with coral and artificial reefs.

The fish’s meat contains high levels of methyl mercury making it unfit for human consumption. Goliath Groupers are found in the eastern as well as western Atlantic Ocean.

In the western half, they exist in the waters of the Florida Keys, Bahamas, and the coast of Brazil. Here’s a table giving the scientific classification of the fish, followed by some intriguing facts about its physical characteristics, diet, and temperament.

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Scientific ClassificationCommon Name: Atlantic GoliathGrouper Binomial Name: Epimetheus Tamara Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Performed Family: Serranidae Genus: Epimetheus IUCN Rating: Critically Endangered Goliath Groupers can grow as big as 8.2 feet in length, and half as wide.

these fish could either be dull green or gray, or dark yellow to brown. Goliath Groupers are known by several names including, Atlantic GoliathGrouper, Black Bass, One Grouper, Giant Sea bass, Guava, Hamlet, Jew fish, and Southern/Spotted Jew fish.

Juveniles are just 2.5 cm long and prefer settling into mangrove habitats. These fish were considered a delicacy prior to receiving a critically endangered status.

scientists believe that Goliath Groupers have a very long lifespan, and they may live for even a hundred years. This is because, these fish make a peculiar booming sound (something like that of a bass drum) which can not only be heard but felt as well.

These vocalizations are normally termed as barks; they are either used to communicate or to warn intruders trying to access their territories. Also, they don’t move a lot and are always glued to reefs, corals, and rocks in shallow waters, except during the spawning season.

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This refers to organisms who are born female and undergo a sexual transformation at some point later in their lives. the GoliathGrouper was traditionally referred to as Jewish (as mentioned before), but the American Fisheries Society banned the use of this term (in 2001) as it sounded culturally insensitive.

Reefs are considered healthier if you see one of us swimming around because we help maintain balance in the ecosystem. I use my large mouth to suck in whole fish or invertebrates, then swallow them right away.

Scientists estimate that historical overfishing decreased our numbers by about 80%, and it’s been a long road to recovery. After they’re fertilized, the eggs drift around in the currents until they finally hatch.

I learned about it from a buddy diver who excitedly told me to go diving with him upon a prompt from a classmate in high school who happened to be the mayor of that town. Probably, I am lucky that the Goliath grouper (Epimetheus quinquefasciatus) I encountered several minutes when I plunged into the water was still a juvenile.

I brought with me my automatic Nikon camera encased in a plastic casing to make it water-resistant as taking pictures is a pleasure for me each time I travel. I grabbed the camera hanging by a tough nylon string around my wrist, and took a video of the Goliath grouper following my buddy.

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Despite the huge size of the Goliath grouper, they seem to be docile fishes although there are reports that they do attack humans. I saw one video that says so but analyzing the situation, I thought the reason was mainly to feed, not really to attack.

The moving fins attracted the grouper thinking probably that it was its prey and snapped on it. When the juveniles are older, they migrate to the coral reefs and stay there for more than 40 years.

The nearshore environment is a fragile one that should be protected or conserved considering the highly complex life that intertwine in mangrove ecosystems. About The Author Regional, Patrick Dr. Patrick A. Regional mentored graduate and undergraduate students for more than two decades and engaged in various university and externally-funded national and international research projects as a consultant.

Related to his blogging and book writing venture, he taught himself HTML, CSS, SEO, LyX/LaTeX, GIMP, and Inkscape to edit SVG, JPEG, and PNG files and WordPress. systems analysis using Stella, ENSIM, and Sesame; CGIS mapping, SCUBA diving for work and pleasure.

He likes running 2-3 miles, 3-4 times a week thus finished a 21K in 2019, and recently learned to cook at home due to COVID-19. Epimetheus Tamara may be a widespread, slow growing, and aggregating species that has undergone vital population reduction over the past three generations (40.5 years) calculable to be a minimum of 80th based on landings information and underwater visual censuses.

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Despite clear and promising signs of recovery in us waters following the 1990 moratorium, the will increase in numbers noted area unit young and juvenile fish (the species takes five to six years to become sexually mature). The goliathgrouper occurs within the western Atlantic Ocean from Florida south to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and also the Caribbean Sea.

This marine fish inhabits shallow, inshore waters with mud, rock or coral bottoms and is infrequently found below depths of 46 meters. It’s territorial close to areas of refuge like caves, wrecks, and ledges, displaying an open mouth and quivering body to intruders.

These teams occur at consistent sites like wrecks, rock ledges and isolated patch reefs during July, August and September. Studies have shown fish could move up to 62 miles (100 km) from inshore reefs to these spawning sites.

In southwest Florida, plausible entreaty behavior has been observed during the complete moons in August and September. Occurring in shallow, inshore waters to depths of 150 feet (46 m), the Epimetheus Tamara prefers areas of rock, coral, and mud bottoms.

It’s a classic apex predator, large, rare and solely some people occur on any given reef unit. As with other fish, the Atlantic goliathgrouper is the host of several species of parasites, including the diplectanid monogenean Pseudorhabdosynochus Americans on its gills.

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Calico crabs frame the bulk of their diet, with alternative invertebrate species and fish filling within the rest. Goliath grouper feed mostly on crustaceans (in particular spiny lobsters, shrimps and crabs), fishes (including stingrays and parrot fishes), octopus, and young ocean turtles.

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 goliathgrouper 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.

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Considered of fine food quality, Atlantic goliathgrouper 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. This makes them particularly vulnerable to mass harvesting while breeding.

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 goliathgrouper was successfully bred in captivity for the first time.

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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 goliathgrouper 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.

^ Lovato, Cleo nice Maria Cardozo; Soars, Bruno Clears; Begot, Tiago Octavio Buffalo; Montage, Luciano Coach de Assis (January 2016). “Tidal pools as habitat for juveniles of the Goliath grouper Epimetheus Tamara (Lichtenstein 1822) in the Amazonian coastal zone, Brazil”.

Risky, Delaney C.; Bakenhaster, Micah D.; Adams, Douglas H. (2015). “ Pseudorhabdosynochus species (Monogenoidea, Diplectanidae) parasitizing groupers (Serranidae, Epinephrine, Epinephrine) in the western Atlantic Ocean and adjacent waters, with descriptions of 13 new species”.

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Sources
1 myfwc.com - https://myfwc.com/research/saltwater/codes/food-bait-finfish/red-grouper-juvenile/
2 en.wikipedia.org - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epinephelus_morio
3 www.fisheries.noaa.gov - https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/red-grouper
4 www.theledger.com - https://www.theledger.com/story/sports/2020/12/24/saltwater-gag-grouper-biting-offshore-and-around-inshore-structures/4024564001/
5 www.fisheries.noaa.gov - https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/species/atlantic-goliath-grouper
6 www.dreamstime.com - https://www.dreamstime.com/photos-images/red-grouper.html