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Giant grouper

Giant grouper

(Epinephelus lanceolatus)

The giant grouper is a reef-associated saltwater fish that dwells in shallow reefs, caves, wrecks and estuaries in tropical climates. It is the largest of all coral reef-dwelling bony fish and feeds on fish, sharks and crustaceans by hiding in reefs and ambushing its prey. The giant grouper can expand its mouth to create a strong suction, which allows it to engulf its unsuspecting food.

Due to over-fishing the giant grouper has been listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Red List. The giant grouper population is thought to be declining at a rate of 20 percent every 10 years. This species can live to be more than 50 years old, which means it takes some time for younger fish to replace the older, larger fish in an environment.

You can see these saltwater giants in the Ocean Voyager gallery at the Georgia Aquarium.

Fun Facts

  • The giant grouper grows to a length of eight feet and a weight of 660 pounds.
  • Groupers start out life as females and later switch sex to male with age.
  • Its eyes function effectively in dim light, giving it an advantage over prey during dawn and dusk.
  • Young giant grouper are bright yellow with large, irregular black or brown bars.
  • It has at least seven rows of teeth on the middle of its lower jaw.
  • Download full fact sheet

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