Groupers are fish of any of a number of genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family Serranidae, in the order Perciformes.

Not all serranids are called groupers; the family also includes the sea basses. The common name grouper is usually given to fish in one of two large genera: Epinephelus and Mycteroperca. In addition, the species classified in the small genera Anyperidon, Cromileptes, Dermatolepis, Gracila, Saloptia, and Triso are also called groupers. Fish in the genus Plectropomus are referred to as coralgroupers. These genera are all classified in the subfamily Epiphelinae. However, some of the hamlets (genus Alphestes), the hinds (genus Cephalopholis), the lyretails (genus Variola) and some other small genera (Gonioplectrus, Niphon, Paranthias) are also in this subfamily, and occasional species in other serranid genera have common names involving the word "grouper". Nonetheless, the word "grouper" on its own is usually taken as meaning the subfamily Epinephelinae.

Epinephelus malabaricus
Malabar grouper, Epinephelus malabaricus
Scientific classification


Only today I got to know this Fish better! What about you? (3852325083)
Anatomy of a grouper

Groupers are teleosts, typically having a stout body and a large mouth. They are not built for long-distance, fast swimming. They can be quite large, and lengths over a meter and weights up to 100 kg are not uncommon, though obviously in such a large group, species vary considerably. They swallow prey rather than biting pieces off it. They do not have many teeth on the edges of their jaws, but they have heavy crushing tooth plates inside the pharynx. They habitually eat fish, octopuses, and crustaceans. Some species prefer to ambush their prey, while other species are active predators. Reports of fatal attacks on humans by the largest species, the giant grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus) are unconfirmed.[1]

Their mouths and gills form a powerful sucking system that sucks their prey in from a distance. They also use their mouths to dig into sand to form their shelters under big rocks, jetting it out through their gills.

Research indicates roving coralgroupers (Plectropomus pessuliferus) sometimes cooperate with giant morays in hunting.[2]



The word "grouper" is from the Portuguese name, garoupa, which has been speculated to come from an indigenous South American language.[3][4]

In Australia, "groper" is used instead of "grouper" for several species, such as the Queensland grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus). In the Philippines, it is named lapu-lapu in Luzon, while in the Visayas and Mindanao it goes by the name pugapo. In New Zealand, "groper" refers to a type of wreckfish, Polyprion oxygeneios, which goes by the Māori name hāpuku.[5] In the Middle East, the fish is known as hammour, and is widely eaten, especially in the Persian Gulf region.[6][7]


Image Genus Common Name Number of Living Species
Alphestes immaculatus SI Alphestes 3
Anyperodon leucogrammicus Anyperodon slender grouper 1
Aethaloperca rogaa Maldives Aethaloperca Redmouth grouper 1
Blue-spotted.grouper.arp Cephalopholis Maples 25
Cromileptes altivelis skansen 2006 Cromileptes Humpback grouper 1
Sanc0498 - Flickr - NOAA Photo Library Dermatolepis 2
Epinephelus malabaricus in UShaka Sea World 1098 Epinephelus 89
Gonioplectrus Spanish flag 1
Serranidae - Gracila albomarginata Gracila Masked Grouper 1
Snowy grouper (Epinephelus niveatus) Hyporthodus 14
Sanc0487 - Flickr - NOAA Photo Library Mycteroperca 15
Paranthias colonus Ecuador Paranthias 2
Plectropomus laevis Plectropomus 7
Saloptia 1
Triso 1
Variola louti by Jacek Madejski Variola 2


Groupers are mostly monandric protogynous hermaphrodites, i.e. they mature only as females and have the ability to change sex after sexual maturity.[8][9] Some species of groupers grow about a kilogram per year and are generally adolescent until they reach three kilograms, when they become female. The largest males often control harems containing three to 15 females.[8][10] Groupers often pair spawn, which enables large males to competitively exclude smaller males from reproducing.[8][11][12][13] As such, if a small female grouper were to change sex before it could control a harem as a male, its fitness would decrease.[11][12][13] If no male is available, the largest female that can increase fitness by changing sex will do so.[12]

However, some groupers are gonochoristic.[8] Gonochorism, or a reproductive strategy with two distinct sexes, has evolved independently in groupers at least five times.[8] The evolution of gonochorism is linked to group spawning high amounts of habitat cover.[8][12][14] Both group spawning and habitat cover increase the likelihood of a smaller male to reproduce in the presence of large males. Fitness of male groupers in environments where competitive exclusion of smaller males is not possible is correlated with sperm production and thus testicle size.[10][12][15] Gonochoristic groupers have larger testes than protogynous groupers (10% of body mass compared to 1% of body mass), indicating the evolution of gonochorism increased male grouper fitness in environments where large males were unable to competitively exclude small males from reproducing.[10]


Pseudorhabdosynochus morrhua
A monogenean parasitic on the gill of a grouper

As other fish, groupers harbour parasites, including digeneans,[16] nematodes, cestodes, monogeneans, isopods, and copepods. A study conducted in New Caledonia has shown that coral reef-associated groupers have about 10 species of parasites per fish species.[17] Species of Pseudorhabdosynochus, monogeneans of the family Diplectanidae are typical of and especially numerous on groupers.

Modern use

Gulai kerapu
Gulai kerapu, a grouper-based Padang food

Many groupers are important food fish, and some of them are now farmed. Unlike most other fish species which are chilled or frozen, groupers are usually sold live in markets.[18] Many species are popular fish for sea-angling. Some species are small enough to be kept in aquaria, though even the small species are inclined to grow rapidly.

Groupers are commonly reported as a source of Ciguatera fish poisoning. DNA barcoding of grouper species might help in controlling Ciguatera fish poisoning since fish are easily identified, even from meal remnants, with molecular tools.[19]


Malaysian newspaper The Star reported a 180-kg (397-lb) grouper being caught off the waters near Pulau Sembilan in the Straits of Malacca in January 2008.[20] Shenzhen News in China reported that a 1.8-m grouper swallowed a 1.0-m whitetip reef shark at the Fuzhou Sea World aquarium.[21]

In September 2010, a Costa Rican newspaper reported a 2.3-m (7.5-ft) grouper in Cieneguita, Limón. The weight of the fish was 250 kg (550 lb) and it was lured using one kilogram of bait.[22] In November 2013, a 310-kg (686-lb) grouper had been caught and sold to a hotel in Dongyuan, China.[23]

In August 2014 off Bonita Springs in Florida (USA) a big grouper took in one gulp a 4-foot shark which an angler had caught.[24][25]

Cultural references

  • The grouper is depicted on the reverse side of the 100-Brazilian reais banknote. In Aruba, the 500-Aruban guilder banknote also features a grouper in one of its faces.
  • KRI Kerapu is an Indonesian Navy ship. Kerapu is Indonesian word for grouper.
  • The USS Grouper was a United States Navy submarine.
  • In the spoken Arabic of the GCC states, the word for the most prized type of grouper, or hamour, is also used to signify a merchant of vast wealth and influence.

See also


  1. ^ Lieske, E., and R. Myers (1999). Coral Reef Fishes. 2nd edition. ISBN 0-691-02659-9
  2. ^ "Interspecific Communicative and Coordinated Hunting between Groupers and Giant Moray Eels in the Red Sea". Retrieved 2010-09-11.
  3. ^ Oxford English Dictionary, s.v.]
  4. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Retrieved 2010-09-11.
  5. ^ "Coastal fish - Hāpuku - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand". 2 March 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
  6. ^ "Food and Drink – Local Dishes". UAE Interact. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  7. ^ "Handling hammour". TimeOut Abu Dhabi. 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Erisman, B. E., M. T. Craig and P. A. Hastings. 2009. A phylogenetic test of the size-advantage model: Evolutionary changes in mating behavior influence the loss of sex change in a fish lineage. American Naturalist 174:83-99.
  9. ^ DeMartini, E. E., A. R. Everson and R. S. Nichols. 2011. Estimates of body sizes at maturation and at sex change, and the spawning seasonality and sex ratio of the endemic Hawaiian grouper (Hyporthodus quernus, f. Epinephelidae). Fishery Bulletin 109:123-134.
  10. ^ a b c Sadovy, Y. and P. L. Colin. 1995. Sexual development and sexuality in the nassau grouper. Journal of Fish Biology 46:961-976.
  11. ^ a b Allsop, D. J. and S. A. West. 2003. Constant relative age and size at sex change for sequentially hermaphroditic fish. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 16:921-929.
  12. ^ a b c d e Munoz, R. C. and R. R. Warner. 2003. A new version of the size-advantage hypothesis for sex change: Incorporating sperm competition and size-fecundity skew. American Naturalist 161:749-761.
  13. ^ a b Kuwamura, T. 2004. Sex change in fishes: Its process and evolutionary mechanism. Zoological Science 21:1248-1248.
  14. ^ Erisman, B. E., J. A. Rosales-Casian and P. A. Hastings. 2008. Evidence of gonochorism in a grouper, Mycteroperca rosacea, from the Gulf of California, Mexico. Environmental Biology of Fishes 82:23-33.
  15. ^ Molloy, P. P., N. B. Goodwin, I. M. Cote, J. D. Reynolds and M. J. G. Gage. 2007. Sperm competition and sex change: A comparative analysis across fishes. Evolution 61:640-652.
  16. ^ Cribb, T. H., Bray, R. A., Wright, T. & Pichelin, S. 2002: The trematodes of groupers (Serranidae: Epinephelinae): knowledge, nature and evolution. Parasitology, 124, S23-S42.
  17. ^ Justine, J.-L., Beveridge, I., Boxshall, G. A., Bray, R. A., Moravec, F., Trilles, J.-P. & Whittington, I. D. 2010: An annotated list of parasites (Isopoda, Copepoda, Monogenea, Digenea, Cestoda and Nematoda) collected in groupers (Serranidae, Epinephelinae) in New Caledonia emphasizes parasite biodiversity in coral reef fish. Folia Parasitologica, 57, 237-262. doi:10.14411/fp.2010.032 PDF
  18. ^ "Most consumers prefer to purchase live groupers in fish markets". Retrieved 2011-04-29.
  19. ^ Schoelinck, C., Hinsinger, D. D., Dettaï, A., Cruaud, C. & Justine, J.-L. 2014: A phylogenetic re-analysis of groupers with applications for ciguatera fish poisoning. PLoS ONE, 9, e98198. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098198
  20. ^ "Whopper of a grouper bought for RM10,000". 17 January 2008. Archived from the original on 8 May 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
  21. ^ "海底"血案":巨型石斑鱼一口吞下白鳍鲨". 30 March 2006. Retrieved 2010-09-11.
  22. ^ Diario La Extra 2010, Marvin Carvajal. "Cayó el más mero en el Caribe". Archived from the original on 13 September 2010.
  23. ^ "Photos: Fishermen catch wildly huge 686-pound fish, sell it to hotel".
  24. ^ Heather Alexander, Houston Chronicle (21 August 2014). "Gulf grouper swallows 4 foot shark in a single bite". Houston Chronicle.
  25. ^ Grouper eats 4ft shark in one bite. 19 August 2014 – via YouTube.

External links

Atlantic goliath grouper

The Atlantic goliath grouper or itajara (Epinephelus itajara), also known as "jewfish", 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.

Blacktip grouper

The blacktip grouper or redbanded grouper, Epinephelus fasciatus, is a species of marine fish in the family Serranidae.

Brown spotted reef cod

The brown spotted reef cod (Epinephelus chlorostigma), known as Souman or Hamour-e Khaldar-e Qahvei in Persian and commonly as brownspotted grouper in English, is a fish belonging to the family Serranidae. In Goa The fish is known as Gobro

Cephalopholis argus

Cephalopholis argus, also known as roi, bluespotted grouper, and celestial grouper, is a fish from the Indo-Pacific which is variously a commercial gamefish, an invasive species, and occasionally an aquarium resident. Its species name comes from its resemblance to the "hundred staring eyes" of the monster Argus in Greek mythology.

Coral hind

Cephalopholis miniata, known commonly as the coral hind, is a species of marine fish in the family Serranidae. Other names include miniatus grouper, miniata grouper, coral or blue-spot rockcod, vermilion seabass, and coral grouper.

The coral hind is widespread throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-West Pacific area, including Durban, South Africa, the Red Sea, and Line Islands.The coral hind is a medium size fish and can reach a maximum size of 50 centimetres (20 in) length.

Coral trout

The coral trout, leopard coral grouper, or leopard coral trout (Plectropomus leopardus) is a species of fish in the Serranidae family. Native to the western Pacific Ocean, its natural habitat includes open seas and coral reefs. Coral trout are piscivorous; juveniles mostly eat crustaceans, especially prawns, and adults feed upon a variety of reef fish, particularly damselfish.

Coral trout are the favourite target fish for all sectors of the fishery because they are a good food fish and command high market prices locally and overseas. The total commercial catch of coral trout was reported at over 1500 tonnes in 1998.


Epinephelus is a genus of fishes in the family Serranidae found in Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.

Giant grouper

The giant grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus), also known as the brindlebass, brown spotted cod, or bumblebee grouper, and as the Queensland groper in Australia, is the largest bony fish found in coral reefs, and the aquatic emblem of Queensland. It is found from near the surface to depths of 100 m (330 ft) at reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific region, with the exception of the Persian Gulf. It also enters estuaries, such as the lowermost part of the Brisbane River. It reaches up to 2.7 m (8.9 ft) in length and 400 kg (880 lb) in weight. Giant groupers feed on a variety of marine life, including small sharks and juvenile sea turtles. Due to overfishing, this species has declined drastically in many regions, and as of the mid-1990s. It is considered Data Deficient by the IUCN.

This giant fish is similar to the Malabar grouper, and its colour changes with age. The giant grouper has a large mouth and a rounded tail. Juveniles have irregular black and yellow markings, while adults are green-grey to grey-brown with faint mottling, with numerous small black spots on the fins.

The first fish to undergo chemotherapy was Bubba, a giant grouper at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago.

Humpback grouper

The humpback grouper, panther grouper, or (in Australia) barramundi cod (Cromileptes altivelis) is a demersal marine fish which belongs to the family Serranidae, the groupers.

Malabar grouper

The Malabar grouper or greasy grouper, Epinephelus malabaricus, is a species of marine fish in the family Serranidae.

Mycteroperca microlepis

Mycteroperca microlepis (the gag, gag grouper, velvet rockfish or charcoal belly) is a species of grouper from warmer parts of the West Atlantic, including the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. It is a drab, mottled-gray fish lacking the distinguishing features of most other groupers. Its pattern of markings resemble the box-shaped spots of the black grouper. It lacks the streamer-points on the tail fin that scamp (Mycteroperca phenax) and yellowmouth grouper (M. interstitialis) have, and lacks yellow coloration around the mouth.

Ten- to 20-pound (5- to 10-kg) fish are common. The world record is 80 lb 6 oz (36.45 kg). The gag grouper is a bottomfeeder and is often caught by fishermen seeking bottom-dwelling species, such as snappers. Its flaky white meat is considered quite delicious.

Members of this species are known to be protogynous hermaphrodites, schooling in harems with the most aggressive and largest females shifting sex to male, probably as a result of behavioral triggers, when no male is available. Commercial and sport fishing have created tremendous selective pressures against the largest animals, typically male, restricting the reproductive capacity of the entire breeding population. Recently, a small closure in the Gulf of Mexico was established to provide this and other species a refuge from commercial fishing pressure, however, these data are highly in dispute and are currently being challenged for inaccuracies.

They are found in areas of hard or consolidated substrate, and use structural features, such as ledges, rocks, and coral reefs (as well as artificial reefs, such as wrecks and sunken barges) as their habitats.

Nassau grouper

The Nassau grouper (Epinephelus striatus) is one of the large number of perciform fishes in the family Serranidae commonly referred to as groupers. It is the most important of the groupers for commercial fishery in the West Indies, but has been endangered by overfishing.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists the Nassau grouper as critically endangered, due to commercial and recreational fishing and reef destruction. Fishing the species is prohibited in US federal waters. The Nassau grouper is a US National Marine Fisheries Service Species of Concern and is a candidate for listing under the Endangered Species Act.

Orange-spotted grouper

The orange-spotted grouper (Epinephelus coioides), also known as the estuary cod, is a species of fish in the family Serranidae. It is found in the western Pacific, the Indian Ocean, and the Red Sea. It has also been recorded in the Mediterranean Sea as a Lessepsian migrant. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical mangrove, open seas, shallow seas, subtidal aquatic beds, coral reefs, estuarine waters, intertidal flats, and coastal saline lagoons. It is threatened by habitat loss and overfishing. This predatory fish reaches up to 1.2 m (3.9 ft) in length.In earlier literature it has often been confused with Epinephelus tauvina or Epinephelus malabaricus.

Potato grouper

The potato grouper (Epinephelus tukula), also called the potato cod or potato bass, is a least concern fish as labeled by the IUCN Red List, and a native fish in Australia The potato grouper is also a native to many other Asian countries. It can reach a length of 2.6m and can weigh as much as 110kg.

Red grouper

The red grouper (Epinephelus morio) is a species of fish in the Family Serranidae. The red grouper's typical range is coastal areas in the western Atlantic, stretching from southern Brazil to North Carolina in the US and including the Gulf of Mexico. This demersal, largely sedentary species has an extended (~40 day) pelagic larval stage before it settles in shallow coastal hardbottom habitat as juveniles. They remain in inshore waters for 4–5 years before migrating to offshore hardbottom habitat—particularly on the edge of the continental self—as adults. Spawning occurs offshore between January and June, peaking in May.

While primarily eating benthic invertebrates, the red grouper is an opportunistic feeder in the reef community. The diet commonly includes xanthid and portunid crabs, juvenile spiny lobster, and snapping shrimp, with the occasional fish. The red grouper is of moderate size, about 125 cm and weighs 23 kg or more. Body coloration is typically reddish-brown in color often, with many white spots. When aggravated (they are highly territorial) or involved in spawning activities, these fish can very rapidly change coloration patterns, with the head or other parts of the body turning completely white, and the white spots appearing more intense.

Saddletail grouper

The saddletail grouper (Epinephelus daemelii), also known as black cod or black rock-cod in Australia, and as saddle-tailed grouper or spotted black groper in New Zealand, is a large marine fish of the family Serranidae. It is found off the coastline of southeastern Australia and northern New Zealand, generally inhabiting near-shore rock and coral reefs at depths down to 50 metres. Its main range comprises the southeast coastline of Australia, in the state of New South Wales; New Zealand populations are suspected to be nonbreeding, so are a result of drifting larvae.

This grouper grows to 200 cm in length and at least 68 kg in weight. The species is a generalised carnivore, preying on crustaceans and fish. It has a typical groper appearance. Colouration varies from a dark grey-black colour to the more usual blotched or banded black and white pattern.

The species is a protogynous hermaphrodite, with individuals starting as females and changing to males at an estimated 100–110 cm in length and 29–30 years of age.

Drastic but localised declines in saddletail grouper stocks due to line fishing were first noted around heavily populated areas in the early 1900s. However, in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, E. daemelii populations suffered a severe decline due to the rise in popularity of spear fishing. Due to the species' large size, slowness, curiosity, territorial habits, and use of inshore habitats, it was extremely vulnerable to spear fishing. The species was heavily targeted by spear fishermen and caught in large quantities. After more than two decades of severe spear fishing-driven decline, the New South Wales fishery department belatedly banned the spearing or taking of black cod in 1983, and subsequently listed the species as vulnerable under New South Wales fisheries legislation. The Australian Government listed it as vulnerable under national environmental legislation in 2012.

Sony Crackle

Sony Crackle is a United States–based subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment that provides ad-supported video entertainment content in the form of streaming media. Its library consists of original long-form content as well as programming acquired from other production companies. The streaming network is available in 21 countries and is accessible on connected devices including mobile (iOS or Android), tablet, smart TVs, desktop, and through gaming consoles. It can also be seen in-flight on American Airlines and in Marriott Hotels.

Originally known as Grouper, and later renamed to Crackle, the name of the streaming service was officially changed to Sony Crackle on January 14, 2018.

USS Grouper

USS Grouper (SS/SSK/AGSS-214), a Gato-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for the grouper.

Grouper was launched by the Electric Boat Co., Groton, Connecticut on 27 October 1941 (sponsored by Mrs. Albert F. Church), and commissioned at New London on 12 February 1942, with Lieutenant Commander C. E. Duke in command.

Whitespotted grouper

The whitespotted grouper (Epinephelus coeruleopunctatus) is an Indo-Pacific species of saltwater grouper. The distribution ranges from East Africa, South Africa and the Persian Gulf east to Fiji and Tonga. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed its conservation status as being of "least concern".

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