Grouper

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The grouper is one of the largest bony fish in the sea.

Grouper 1

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The grouper has a stocky body and a large mouth, allowing it to suck prey from a distance and swallow it in one gulp. The meat of grouper is delicious, but with so many species being overfished these days, it has become a problem. The good news is that more and more countries are working to protect these amazing animals.

five amazing facts

Nassau Grouper
The Nassau grouper is one of 159 species of grouper.

©Drew McArthur/Shutterstock.com

Here are some facts about this very diverse group of fish:

  1. Groupers belong to the Serranidae family, but not all serranids are groupers.
  2. The largest grouper, the giant grouper, can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh more than 800 pounds. The smallest is Coney, which is about a foot long and weighs about a pound.
  3. Some groupers hunt with moray eels.
  4. Groupers are one of the few fish that prey on the red lionfish, which is both venomous and aggressive.
  5. Groupers have a few teeth, but they mostly eat using bone fragment plates inside the pharynx.

taxonomic name

Groupers are members of the catfish family of catfish, which includes sea bass, sea bass, and sea bass. The word "serra" in New Latin means "saw" or "sawfish," although the sawfish is a type of shark and is not related to groupers. Groupers also belong to the subfamily called Grouperinae . This subfamily was subsequently subdivided into five tribes, 32 genera and 159 species, although some biologists believe there are as many as 234 species of grouper. Some species are mentioned below.



appearance

Most Expensive Fish: Neptune Grouper
Neptune grouper is a brightly colored and very expensive fish.

© John E. Randall / CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – Licensed

Groupers, big or small, are strong-bodied fish with large mouths. Typically, their eyes are located on the broad head, pelvic and anal fins, and the soft, spiny dorsal fin is located on the back of the body. They may have spines on their gill covers, and the lower jaw may protrude beyond the upper jaw. Many species have bold colors and stunning patterns, and some can change color. Types of grouper include:

  • Goliath grouper . This is the largest grouper, growing to 8.2 feet and weighing up to 800 pounds! Also known as itajara, it is found in the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico and as far south as Brazil. This giant fish is also found off the coast of West Africa. Its conservation status is fragile and its numbers are declining.
  • Broom grouper . The broom grouper is a member of the genus Mycteroperca , named for the shape of its tail. It comes in two color patterns: gray or gray-green with brown spots, or gray-brown with dark brown fins and a white border. It is found along the coast of California and in Central America, the Galapagos Islands, and Peru. Data on its conservation status are scarce.
  • Gold grouper . Distributed in the eastern Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean, it is the only fish in the genus Saloptia . Its body is pink and gold in color. At 15 inches long, small for a grouper, it is the "twilight zone" of its habitat. Its conservation status is the least of concern.
  • Neptune grouper . This grouper lives mainly in the deep waters of the Western Pacific and coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific. Prices for this fish range from $6,000-8,000. It is known in Asia for its bright red and yellow patterns and is used in recipes such as sashimi.
  • White edge lyretail . This fish belongs to the genus Variola . It is a bright red fish with bluish or pink spots, a light saddle and a dark caudal fin edged with white. It is found in coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. Its conservation status is also of least concern.
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Distribution, Population and Habitat

giant grouper
Goliath groupers are the largest of their kind and can eat baby turtles.

©Supermop/Shutterstock.com

Groupers live in warmer waters around the world, from the ocean's surface to depths of up to 600 feet. As for specific habitats, they prefer coral reefs or areas of the ocean with rocks or silt on the sea floor. Many groupers breed in coral reefs on continental shelves, shipwrecks, or along the edges of seagrass beds.

predator and prey

Groupers are carnivores, and they happily eat smaller fish, including other groupers and crustaceans such as shrimp and lobster. Very large groupers, such as the Goliath grouper, eat small turtles. Groupers are in turn food for sharks, mackerel and moray eels, although the only predator that can reliably handle fish as large as an adult Goliath grouper is humans.

Groupers are also parasitized by nematodes, copepods and isopods, some of which are responsible for ciguatera poisoning. This occurs when the grouper eats organisms that contain certain toxins, which are then passed on to the diners.

Reproduction and Lifespan

Grouper reproduction is particularly fascinating because it is quite complex. For one thing, most groupers are born female and become male as adults. Some breed during the summer, while others, like the Nassau grouper, breed during the winter full moon. Many species form aggregates in their breeding areas that can house tens of thousands of fish. Males of most species are territorial and fish return to the same place year after year to spawn. Females lay eggs and males release their sperm into the water. The fertilized eggs then become part of the zooplankton and are washed away by ocean currents.

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colorful erythema
This colorful red grouper, like other groupers, can live to be around 30-50 years old.

© Wanchai/Shutterstock.com

The eggs usually hatch a day or two after fertilization. Some groupers take several months to reach sexual maturity, while others, especially large groupers such as the Goliath and Nassau groupers, take years. Groupers have an average lifespan of 30-50 years, but Goliaths live much longer.

fishing and cooking

Grouper is caught with hook, line and spear. While fishermen are encouraged to catch and release grouper, certain species are highly prized for their meat, so you can find many recipe sites that show you how to prepare them.

Care needs to be taken when selecting grouper as some species are endangered due to overfishing. Some groupers are now raised in fish farms, including orange spot, red spot, Malabar grouper, polka dot grouper, and greasy grouper.

population

The number of groupers worldwide is unknown, but some species are endangered. Nassau groupers, for example, can congregate in the tens of thousands at their spawning grounds, but this makes them vulnerable to overfishing.

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The grouper was delicious. Grouper recipes include the fish grilled, fried, and served in stews and chowders. A popular recipe using grouper is psari plaki, a Greek dish in which the fish is baked with onions, tomatoes and kalamata olives.

In general, grouper is a healthy food, although some fish are known to contain cigua and high levels of mercury.

The flavor of the meat is described as light, sweet, almost lobster-like.

Groupers and perch, while belonging to the same family, are not identical.

Groupers come in a variety of sizes, from the 11-inch conical grouper to the 8-foot giant grouper.

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Groupers live in tropical and subtropical seas around the world, often around coral reefs.