Usually it is a mottled yellow-brown to gray with darker bard and spots, ideal for blending in to their rocky coral and muddy inshore habitat. Other names are Baden (Portuguese), campus (Portuguese), hernia gig ante (Italian), China (Spanish), group (Portuguese), gran morgue (Iranian), guava (Spanish), data (Japanese), harbor (Norwegian), havsabborre (Swedish), Tamara Vienna (Polish), Judaism (Norwegian), hero guava (Spanish), hero (French), orphan (Turkish), raitameriahven (Finnish), Sophos (Greek), scarring (Italian), tip (Palikir), Atari (Icelandic), and zackenbarsch (German).
A 450 pound Goliath grouper caught by Buddy Junks at the Big Indian Rocks Fishing Pier, Florida (1976). Photo courtesy Kenneth Krzysztof historical importance to commercial fisheries, the Goliath grouper has also long been prized by recreational and sport fishers.
Spear fishers find this fish easy to approach; hence in locations accessible to divers their numbers have declined. The large size, slow growth, low reproductive rate, and spawning behavior have made the Goliath grouper especially susceptible to overfishing.
The Goliath grouper is totally protected from harvest and is recognized as a “Critically Endangered” species by the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Furthermore, the IUCN concludes that the species has been “observed, estimated, inferred or suspected” of a reduction of at least 80% over the last 10 years or three generations.
Historical exploitation of Goliath grouper annual spawning aggregation sites greatly reduced the number of reproductive adults. It is also found in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, from Senegal to Congo although rare in the Canary Islands.
Occurring in shallow, inshore waters to depths of 150 feet (46 m), the Goliath grouper prefers areas of rock, coral, and mud bottoms. It is territorial near areas of refuge such as caves, wrecks, and ledges, displaying an open mouth and quivering body to intruders.
Additional warning may be delivered in the form of the Goliath grouper ’s ability to produce a distinctly audible rumbling sound generated by the muscular contraction of the swim bladder. Photo courtesy NOAA Distinctive Features Goliath grouper are the largest members of the sea bass family in the Atlantic Ocean.
Coloration This fish is generally brownish yellow, gray, or olive with small dark spots on head, body, and fins. The presence of a number of short weakly developed canine teeth is useful in distinguishing this species from other North Atlantic groupers.
However, this specimen was sampled from a population of individuals depressed by fishing pressure and it is projected that Goliath grouper may live much longer, perhaps as much as 50 years. Photo © Don Maria Food Habits Goliath grouper feed largely on crustaceans (in particular spiny lobsters, shrimps and crabs), fishes (including stingrays and parrot fishes), octopus, and young sea turtles.
However, the significance of this finding is of diminished value when one considers that transitional individuals are known to be rare amongst confirmed species of protogynous hermaphrodites, such as the red grouper (Epimetheus Mario) and gag (Mycteroperca microbes). Photo courtesy National Marine Fisheries Service In support of the notion that the species is a protogynous hermaphrodite is the fact that the largest Goliath groupers are invariably male. Spawning occurs during the summer months of July, August, and September throughout the Goliath grouper ’s range and is strongly influenced by the lunar cycle.
Ship wrecks, rock ledges, and isolated patch reefs are preferred spawning habitat. In the 1980s these aggregations reached a low of less than 10 individuals per site as fishing pressure greatly impacted this species.
Since receiving legislative protection the spawning aggregations of Goliath grouper have risen to 20-40 individuals per location. These pelagic larvae transform into benthic juveniles at lengths of one inch (2.5 cm), around 25 or 26 days after hatching.
In an 1884 work, “The fishes of the Florida Keys,” David Starr Jordan proposed the inclusion of the Goliath grouper in Epimetheus (Bloch 1793) and this combination remains in use today. Of incidental note is the fact that various authors have incorrectly spelled the specific epithet “Tamara” as “tiara.” The genus name comes from the Greek epinephelos translated as cloudy.
A number of authors treat the name Promiscuous Tamara as valid taxonomy for the Goliath grouper. The giant grouper is the largest of all reef-dwelling bony fish, growing up to 8.9 feet (2.7 m) in length and weighing up to 660 pounds (300 kg).
A highly adapted ambush predator, the giant grouper will hide in holes, crevices or reef overhangs, and remain nearly motionless while waiting for unsuspecting prey to come close enough to strike. Its eyes see well in the dark, and can rotate, allowing the grouper to spot approaching prey without even moving its head.
When the grouper opens its large mouth, it creates a powerful suction and draws in its target, which it swallows whole. At the upper end of its food chain, the giant grouper feeds on a variety of prey, including fish, crustaceans, juvenile sea turtles, and even small sharks.
Fish, sharks, juvenile sea turtles and crustaceans, including spiny lobster and mud crabs Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea to Alga Bay, South Africa through the Hawaiian and Pitcairn Islands and south to Australia Tropical shallow reefs, caves, wrecks and estuaries Has a very large mouth that expands and protrudes to create a strong suction to draw in prey.
The giant grouper ’s eyes function effectively in dim light, which gives it an advantage over its prey during dawn and dusk feeding times. Juvenile giant grouper are bright yellow with large, irregular black or dark brown bars.
Because it is long-lived and late to reproduce, the giant grouper is highly susceptible to overfishing. Fishermen generally target larger individuals, meaning that, frequently, too many breeding specimens are removed from a population to it to sustain itself.
Consists of fish, sharks, juvenile sea turtles and crustaceans, including spiny lobster and mud crabs. Ambush predator that lies in wait while hiding in holes, crevices and reef overhangs.
Found in tropical shallow reefs, caves, wrecks and estuaries commonly to 164 feet (50 m) deep. Protogynous hermaphrodite; starts out life as female and can later change gender to become male.
These large fish are associated with hard structure such as reefs (both natural and artificial), rocks, and ledges. It was easy for commercial and recreational fisherman to catch Nassau grouper and it soon became scarce.
Because their range exceeds national borders, the best approach to their conservation is regional closed seasons. Sampling of fish landed in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico during the 1970s and 1980s indicates that Nassau grouper were commonly caught, mostly from spawning aggregation sites.
Currently, Nassau grouper are occasionally reported during underwater reef surveys at low density. Coloration varies, but adult fish are generally light beige, with five dark brown vertical bars, a large black saddle blotch on top of the base of the tail, and a row of black spots below and behind each eye.
They can be distinguished from other groupers by the vertical bars and dark saddle coloring along the dorsal part of the area preceding the tail. Color pattern can change within minutes from almost white too bicolored to uniformly dark brown, according to the behavioral state of the fish.
They take advantage of lower light levels at dawn and dusk, combined with the higher number of prey during changeover between diurnal and nocturnal fishes. Nassau grouper are found in tropical and subtropical waters of the western North Atlantic.
This includes Bermuda, Florida, Bahamas, the Yucatán Peninsula, and throughout the Caribbean to southern Brazil. There has been one verified report of Nassau grouper in the Gulf of Mexico at Flower Gardens Bank.
The Nassau grouper is considered a reef fish, but it transitions as it grows through a series of shifts in both habitat and diet. As juveniles, they are found in nearshore shallow waters in macro algal and seagrass habitats.
The main influences on where they live are not known, though water clarity, habitat, and bent hos (the community of organisms in the seabed) seem to be important. Nassau grouper tend to spend a lot of time in one spot, often on a high-relief coral reefs or rocks in clear water.
World map providing approximate representation of the Nassau grouper's range. Nassau grouper pass through a juvenile bisexual phase, then mature directly as males or females.
While adult Nassau groupers can change sex after hormone injection, natural sex-change has not been confirmed. Sites have been found near the edges of reefs, as little as 50 yards from the shore, near drop-offs into deeper water across a wide range of depths (20 to 200 feet) and environments (including soft corals, sponges, stony coral outcrops, and sandy depressions).
Some more information on how Nassau grouper get to their spawning sites, based on limited observations: After 1 to 2 months of floating with the ocean currents, the larvae settle in nearshore shallow waters in macro algal and seagrass habitats.
Adults are relatively solitary, living in areas that (patchily) overlap other groupers’ home ranges. In some countries with protective regulations, there are too few enforcement officers to cover a large geographic area with many landing locations.
Meanwhile, fish caught during closed season are held and later marketed as legal capture. While groupers don’t have many teeth on the edges of their jaws, they are endowed with heavy crushing tooth plates inside their pharynx, and their mouths and gills create powerful suction that enables them to slurp their prey and swallow it whole.
The giant grouper has a robust body which has a standard length equivalent to 2.4 to 3.4 times its depth. The dorsal profile of the head and the intraorbital area are convex, The properly has a rounded corner and a finely serrated margin.
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. The giant grouper can grow to huge size with the maximum recorded standard length being 270 centimeters (110 in), although they are more common around 180 centimeters (71 in).
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. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
“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 “. ^ Scholar, W. N.; Cricket, R. & van der Loan, R.
Use our tool to solve regular crosswords, find words with missing letters, solve code word puzzles or to look up anagrams. This photo of a Nassau grouper appears in a complaint filed Tuesday against federal agencies that have missed the deadline to establish a critical habitat for the endangered predator fish.
The Center for Biological Diversity and two other conservation groups that sued Tuesday in Washington Federal Court note that the species is “a friendly fish with a playful personality, and is known to interact with scuba divers.” Four years ago, the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration listed the Nassau grouper as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but the government has since failed to follow through with the safeguards that come with such status, including the designation of a critical habitat.
“Protected habitat will help set these fish on the path to recovery, but the federal government has stalled this designation for years,” Jaclyn Lopez, Florida director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a statement Tuesday. A group of fishermen on a charter boat in Florida were shocked when a 3-foot shark they had just hooked was eaten by a Goliath grouper.
Goliath Grouper Swallows SharkWhile fishing in Marathon on First Love Charters with Capt. Two Japanese men 68 and 76 years old hooked into a huge shark after it beat the second Goliath to the punch.
According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Goliath grouper is, “the giant of the grouper family, the Goliath (formerly called Jewish) has brown or yellow mottling with small black spots on the head and fins, a large mouth with jawbones that extend well past its small eyes, and a rounded tail. The commission says that harvesting and possessing the Goliath grouper has been prohibited in Florida since 1990, because it is a protected species.
The skeletal structure of large Goliath grouper cannot adequately support their weight out of the water without some type of damage. If a large Goliath is brought on-board a vessel or out of the water, it is likely to sustain some form of internal injury and therefore be considered harvested,” the commission says.
“When not feeding or spawning, adult Goliath groupers are generally solitary, sedentary and territorial. Before the Goliath grouper reaches full-size it is preyed upon by barracuda, king mackerel and moray eels, as well as sandbar and hammerhead sharks.
Once fully grown, humans and large sharks are the Goliath grouper ’s only predators.” There have been increases in abundance in certain areas (e.g., Tampa Bay, Charlotte Harbor and the Ten A Thousand Islands), and the distribution of Goliath grouper populations has extended into areas of its former range throughout Florida, including the Big Bend and Panhandle regions,” the conservation commission says.
Calico crabs make up the majority of their diet, with other invertebrate species and fish filling in the rest. The Nassau grouper is a U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service species of special concern.
Special concern are species for which the U.S. government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Marine Fisheries Service, has some concerns regarding status and threats, but for which information is insufficient to indicate the need to list the species under the U.S. The Nassau grouper is a way for big fish, growing to more than one meter in length and up to 25 kg.
The Nassau grouper lives in the Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda, Florida and the Bahamas in the north to the south of Brazil, but it is only found in some places in the Gulf of Mexico, particularly along the coast of Belize. In light of the full moon, a huge number of clusters together to mate in grouper spawning mass.
One reason for the Nassau grouper fisheries are so depleted is that its huge spawning groups are easy targets for fishermen, who collect many reproducing fish, then obviously that can not be repeated. However, its numbers were greatly reduced by overfishing in recent years, and it is a slow breeder.
Also, its historical spawning areas are easily targeted for fishing, which tends to remove the reproductively active members of the group. The species is very vulnerable to overexploitation, and is recognized as endangered on the IUCN Red List.
The governments of the United States, the Cayman Islands and the Bahamas have banned fishing for the Nassau grouper, in recent years. The Nassau grouper is down very high and is a serious risk of extinction. An important spawning site for the species is at Glover Reef, off the coast of Belize.
In 2002 this area was declared a special marine reserve, permanently closed to fishing. Also, there are protections for spawning at all times in some places. The Nassau grouper has been represented on stamps of Cuba (1965, 1975), Bahamas (1971 five percent), and Antigua and Barbuda (1987 40c).