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 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.
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”.
Diagram from “Tropical Connections: South Florida's marine environment” (pg. Diagram from “Tropical Connections: South Florida's marine environment” (pg.
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. 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. When they are old enough to reproduce, the Goliath groupers migrate and spawn into the deeper water column, fertilize the eggs which then are carried by the current, hatch then drift in the currents for 30 to 80 days (Fig.
Lifecycle of the Goliath grouper (Illustration by Jane Hakka, IAN Image Library (ian.umces.edu/imagelibrary/) 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.
Lurking in the deepest recesses of inshore waters is one of the most powerful and challenging species sought by anglers. With nearly no natural predators once adulthood is reached and with a history of even stalking human swimmers on occasion, this monster of the deep is truly a worthy adversary for any fisherman.
Goliath Groupers feed primarily on crustaceans such as spiny lobsters, shrimp, and crabs, as well as stingrays, octopus, and even young sea turtles, all of which it can easily catch and devour with its three to five rows of teeth. Popular locations to fish for GoliathGrouper include bridges and structure when angling inshore, and sunken wrecks and reefs offshore.
The easily approachable nature of the grouper makes it a great fish for spear fishermen, though this has reduced its population in areas accessible to divers. It is a full contact sport that can leave even the strongest and fittest of anglers exhausted only minutes into the fight.
However, if you’re truly dedicated to muscling one of these mammoths to the boat, and you can endure the long and demanding battle of catching one, you’ll be rewarded with a prize like no other. Be sure to take lots of pictures, because you’ll definitely want proof to back up your story when regaling your jealous friends with your tale of triumph.
With their roots submerged in water, mangrove trees thrive in hot, muddy, salty conditions that would quickly kill most plants. A mangrove is a woody tree or shrub that lives along sheltered coastlines within the tropic or subtropic latitudes.
In fact, the various species of mangroves aren’t necessarily closely related to one another, but they do share the unique capability of growing within reach of the tides in salty soil. Some mangrove species live so close to the shoreline that they are flooded with salt water every day as the tide comes in and submerges their roots.
Mangroves are trees and shrubs that aren’t necessarily closely related to one another, but they do share the unique capability of growing within reach of the tides in salty soil. (Apixaban)Under the strictest guidelines, there are roughly 54 true species of mangrove belonging to 16 different families.
(Deltas, 2014)Mangroves grow in sheltered tropical and subtropical coastal areas across the globe. A fluctuation of ten degrees in a short period of time is enough stress to damage the plant and freezing temperatures for even a few hours can kill some mangrove species.
However, rising temperatures and sea level due to climate change are allowing mangroves to expand their ranges farther away from the equator and encroach on temperate wetlands, like salt marshes. Also, on some isolated tropical islands, such as Hawaii and Tahiti, mangroves are not native and are sometimes considered invasive species.
Salt Excretion The salty soils of the intertidal pose an inhospitable barrier for most woody plants, but the mangrove is uniquely adapted for these conditions. Some mangroves, like this Avicenna Germans, get rid of excess salt from the water by excreting it through their leaves.
(UHF Merlin, Wikimedia Commons)For many mangroves, however, the salt is dealt with after it enters the plant. As the leaves age, the cells grow in size since more water is needed to dilute the accumulating salt.
This hoarding of water creates thick and fleshy leaves, a characteristic called succulence. Even though plants use photosynthesis to produce energy, they must then use that fuel through cellular respiration to power their cells and, like animals, consume oxygen.
Most plants can easily take oxygen from gases trapped within the surrounding soil, but for mangrove roots this is not an option, and they need access to air. This unique environment allowed for the evolution of a variety of special structures that help the underground roots gain access to air, even when submerged by the tide.
(Apixaban)While most terrestrial plants use what’s called a “taproot” to burrow deep into the ground for support, several mangrove species rely on sprawling cable roots that stay within a few centimeters of the soil’s surface for stability and access to oxygen. Pneumatophores are specialized roots that act like snorkels when partially flooded and have pores called lentils that cover their surface where oxygen exchange occurs.
The pneumatophores of Sonneratia species can reach up to 10 feet (3 meters) in height, taller than a grown man. The underground portion of the root adds stability while the looping projections increase access to the air.
Arching mangrove roots help keep trunks upright in soft sediments at water’s edge. In mature Rhizosphere, the trunk of the tree is completely suspended above the water by the arcing stilt roots.
After mangrove flowers are pollinated the plants produce seeds that immediately begin to germinate into seedlings. Depending upon the species, propagates will float for a number of days before becoming waterlogged and sinking to the muddy bottom, where they lodge in the soil.
Propagates of Rhizosphere are able to grow over a year after they are released from their parent tree, while the white mangrove, Laguncularia racemes, floats for up to 24 days, though it starts losing its ability to take root after eight. The flotation time allows for the propagates to vacate the area where their parent grows and avoid competition with an already established mangrove.
(Brian Gatwick, Flickr) Mangrove trees can be distantly related and are grouped together for their shared characteristics rather than true genetic ties. These forests are dependent upon the regular tides that flush leaves, twigs, and mangrove propagates out into the open ocean.
Riverine mangrove forests are within river floodplains by the coast and are heavily influenced by the changing seasons. Basin mangrove forests extend far inland and occur in inlets, deep bays, and coves.
The stunted growth is often attributed to a lack of nutrients, high salinity, and rocky soils. Though most will be less than a couple miles thick along the coastline, in some areas of the world they are massive aquatic forests.
The Hungarians Forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Site at the mouth of the Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Mega Rivers in the Bay of Bengal fronting India and Bangladesh, is a network of muddy islands and waterways that extends roughly 3,860 square miles (10,000 square km), two times the size of the state of Delaware. Mangrove forests are important feeding grounds for thousands of species and support a diverse food web.
(Smithsonian Institution) Other organisms rely on the structures created by the branching trees and their tangle of roots. (© Jorge Band)Underwater sponges, snails, worms, anemones, barnacles, and oysters are a few animals that cling to the hard surface of the roots.
Many crabs, shrimp, and fish will spend the early stages of life within the safety of the mangrove roots before making their way out into the open ocean as adults. Part of a mangrove forest’s value comes from its ability to modify and support the surrounding environment.
The complicated root systems absorb the impact of waves which allows for the buildup of sand, dirt, and silt particles. Mangroves further improve water quality by absorbing nutrients from runoff that might otherwise cause harmful algal blooms offshore.
In the canopy, ants, spiders, moths, termites, and scorpions feed and nest in hollowed twigs. Brown pelicans (Pelicans Occidentals) nest in a mangrove in Ecuador’s Galápagos Islands.
Just like other species that are expanding pole ward in response to a warming climate, Status psionic is moving northward. After entering the snail’s shell the larvae then inject a paralyzing toxin and enzyme into the fleshy body before consuming it.
The adult males congregate on mangrove leaves where they display synchronous, flashing light sequences to attract females. (Soumyajit Andy, Wikimedia Commons)Not many large animals can navigate the thick undergrowth and sinking mud pits of a mangrove forest, but for the Royal Bengal tiger, the treacherous habitat is the perfect hunting ground.
The bats, mostly concerned with just getting a sweet meal, are unknowingly helping the mangroves by pollinating their flowers. Inhabitants of the mangrove forests in Borneo, these monkeys rarely leave the branches of the trees, though they are one of the best primate swimmers and will leap into the water in a comical belly-flop.
(Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution) Mud skipper A fish living in a tree sounds like a fictional children’s tale, however, in some mangrove forests in the Indo-Pacific Region, it’s the real deal. Mud skippers are fish that spend the majority of their time out of water, and some can even use their powerful pectoral fins to climb trees.
The mud skipper’s breathing strategies are so efficient that some species can survive out of water for up to 36 hours in high humidity. Should a competing male enter a mud skipper’s territory, the two will engage in sparring competitions, their dorsal fins snapped erect as a warning.
A male mudflat fiddler crab (UCA rap ax) waves its huge claw to impress females and threaten competitors. The excavated mud includes nutrients from decaying matter from deep underground, and the burrows aerate the soil which, in turn, increases water drainage.
Initially toxic from the deep, acidic soil coming into contact with the air, the mounds eventually lose their acidity and become excellent places for little mangroves, including several species of the mangrove fern Acrostic hum, to grow. Waters and Cross A spectacle caiman patrols a salty pond at a Smithsonian research station in Panama.
(Steven Peyton, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute)A resident of riverine mangroves in Central and South America, the spectacle caiman doesn’t wear glasses, of course. They raise the young in nurseries, taking turns caring for their own as well as others' offspring and protecting them fiercely.
And in Australia, the mangrove forests are renowned for the massive saltwater crocodile, a reptile that can reach up to 17 feet! A stealthy predator, it is considered the world’s most aggressive crocodile and often kills people who wonder where it lives.
(Megan Loews, NOAA)Upon visiting the South American coast in the mid 1400s, Amerigo Vespucci named present day Venezuela, which translates to “little Venice,” because the stilt dwellings that sat over the water within the mangrove forest reminded him of the Venice canals. Mangroves form dense barriers against storms and tsunamis, saving lives and protecting property.
They protect the climate by absorbing carbon dioxide and reducing the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. All in all, researchers estimate, the world's mangrove forests provide human communities with many billions of dollars worth of services.
Mangroves naturally absorb influxes of water on a daily basis and are able to cope with the extra flooding during a storm. But the recent mangrove deforestation to make way for development and shrimp farms has created hazardous conditions for people living close to shore.
It’s a worrisome situation considering one study found that a mangrove forest can cut the death toll of a coastal storm by about two-thirds. The same study also found that as mangrove width decreased, the death toll from coastal storms increased.
The damage caused by the 2004 tsunami spurred impacted countries to rethink mangrove importance and many restoration projects are working to rebuild lost forests. The wood is frequently used to build stilt houses, furniture, fences, bridges, fishing poles and traps, canoes, rafts, and boats.
A 2006 study found the Man tang mangrove forest in West Malaysia supports fisheries worth 100 million dollars per year. And in the Gulf of California in Mexico, mangroves provide habitat for about 32 percent of the local fishery landings, an equivalent of 15,000 dollars per acre.
Roughly 100,000 local villagers brave tiger attacks, crocodiles, python bites, pirate raids, and bee stings so severe that they can cause fever and instant vomiting, all for the promise of a little liquid gold. (Matthew D Polanski, MDP Photography/Marine Photo bank)Despite their critical importance, mangroves are disappearing at an alarming rate around the world.
Aquaculture, coastal development, rice and palm oil farming, and industrial activity are rapidly replacing these salt-tolerant trees and the ecosystems they support. (Ilk C. Feller/Smithsonian Institution, made possible by Nighthawk)Despite the appeal of quick financial gain, shrimp farming has hidden, long-term costs.
Thailand, the top shrimp exporter for much of the early 2000s, now has stricter regulations that restrict new farms from encroaching on mangroves. The devastating tsunami of 2004 was a makeup call for many countries that were impacted by the wave’s surge and had exposed coastlines from mangrove removal.
Despite recent efforts to make shrimp farming sustainable, it is still a destructive enterprise that is threatening the existence of mangroves around the world. A 2013 study found that 71 percent of the forest is experiencing 656 feet (200 meters) of coastline retreat per year, almost the length of two football fields.
In 2006, two nearby archipelagos were washed away, an illustration that the threat of the entire forest vanishing beneath the ocean is a real concern. (NASA)As for their ability to evolve in the face of a major stressor, like sea level rise, genetic diversity is key for a species to adapt to change.
This low diversity means that mangroves of a single species are so similar that the genetic makeup of one individual is almost identical to its neighbor. However, the recent El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) in the Pacific Basin has shown that sea levels can also drop precipitously and have severe impacts on mangrove forests.
In China, a marsh grass called Starting alterniflora was introduced in 1979 by conservationists trying to decrease coastal erosion. Originally from the Atlantic coast, the grass works well at maintaining banks and tidal flats, but in China, it began to spread uncontrollably and is now taking over the mangrove forests.
An exotic antelope from Asia called the nigga was released in Texas in the United States in the 1930s as hunting game and is now not only a nuisance for cattle ranchers, but it also eats mangrove leaves. And the addition of rats and feral cats to the Galápagos Islands has caused mangrove finch populations to dramatically decline to a point where they are now listed as critically endangered.
In Florida, conservationists are currently trying to contain an infestation of an Asian mangrove species, Lumnitzera racehorse, that spread from a renowned botanical garden in Miami. Based upon findings that seedlings do best when they are submerged for 30 percent of the time and dry for the remaining 70, Lewis and a team of engineers modified the coastal landscape by moving piles of dirt with bulldozers and backhoes away from the experiment site.
In Thailand, Indonesia, and other countries, local communities dependent on mangroves have learned his methods, too. At a global scale, there are several groups that have committed to helping both restore and conserve the world’s mangrove forests.
The Mangrove Alliance is a group spearheaded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Worldwide Fund (WWF) and the International Union for the Observation of Nature (IUCN) that aims to increase global mangrove forests by 20 percent by 2030. These natural laboratories enable the scientists to conduct long-term studies on mangrove ecosystems from a range of latitudes.
As the plants develop into trees, they become more tolerant of cold temperatures and are better able to withstand periodic freeze events during the winter. Dr. Feller and colleagues are finding that seedlings of all species at the northern limit of mangroves is super reproductive.
Perhaps, the initial few seedlings to colonize the north were extremely early reproducers and the trait has been passed down to the current generation. Or, perhaps, being an early reproducer is somehow advantageous in the colder climate of the north, and these individuals are able to out compete the late bloomers.