Friday, October 12, 2012

Giant Grouper

Epinephelus lanceolatus
Meet the largest reef dwelling fish on the planet, the appropriately named Giant Grouper. These giants can reach lengths up up to 9ft, and weigh well over 800lbs!

Interestingly, even though they are very large, they are not often seen in the wild. They are a Vulnerable species, and live solitary lives hanging out near the seafloor. In fact, not much is really known about their wild behavior. We do know that they are carnivores that feed on crustaceans, small sea turtles, and other fish, and that they probably spawn during the summer time (no spawning events have been directly observed by scientists). It is believed that they reach maturity at around 4ft (1.3m).

Giant Groupers live in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and are sometimes referred to as Queensland Groupers. The population is considered Vulnerable due to overfishing. They are a very long lived fish, and can take decades to grow, which means replenishing the species can take a very long time. They are protected in several parts of Australia and India.

IUCN Status : Vulnerable
Location : Indian and Pacific Oceans
Size : Length up to 9ft (2.7m), Weight up to 880lbs (400kg)
Classification : Phylum : Chordata -- Class : Actinopterygii -- Order : Perciformes
Family : Serranidae -- Genus : Epinephelus -- Species : E. lanceolatus

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