Grouper
Overview
Groupers are fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 of any of a number of genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Serranidae
Serranidae
Serranidae is a large family of fishes, belonging to the order Perciformes. The family contains about 450 species of serranids in 64 genera, including the sea basses and the groupers...

, in the order Perciformes
Perciformes
The Perciformes, also called the Percomorphi or Acanthopteri, is one of the largest orders of vertebrates, containing about 40% of all bony fish. Perciformes means perch-like. They belong to the class of ray-finned fish and comprise over 7,000 species found in almost all aquatic environments...

.

Not all serranids are called groupers; the family also includes the sea basses
Bass (fish)
Bass is a name shared by many different species of popular gamefish. The term encompasses both freshwater and marine species. All belong to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes, and in fact the word bass comes from Middle English bars, meaning "perch."-Types of basses:*The temperate...

. The common name grouper is usually given to fish in one of two large genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

: Epinephelus
Epinephelus
Epinephelus is a genus of groupers. They are large sea fish. Members of this genus may also be called a Mero.-Species:FishBase lists 99 species:* Areolate grouper, Epinephelus areolatus ....

and Mycteroperca. In addition, the species classified in the small genera Anyperidon, Cromileptes, Dermatolepis, Gracila, Saloptia and Triso are also called groupers.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Groupers are fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

 of any of a number of genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

 Serranidae
Serranidae
Serranidae is a large family of fishes, belonging to the order Perciformes. The family contains about 450 species of serranids in 64 genera, including the sea basses and the groupers...

, in the order Perciformes
Perciformes
The Perciformes, also called the Percomorphi or Acanthopteri, is one of the largest orders of vertebrates, containing about 40% of all bony fish. Perciformes means perch-like. They belong to the class of ray-finned fish and comprise over 7,000 species found in almost all aquatic environments...

.

Not all serranids are called groupers; the family also includes the sea basses
Bass (fish)
Bass is a name shared by many different species of popular gamefish. The term encompasses both freshwater and marine species. All belong to the large order Perciformes, or perch-like fishes, and in fact the word bass comes from Middle English bars, meaning "perch."-Types of basses:*The temperate...

. The common name grouper is usually given to fish in one of two large genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

: Epinephelus
Epinephelus
Epinephelus is a genus of groupers. They are large sea fish. Members of this genus may also be called a Mero.-Species:FishBase lists 99 species:* Areolate grouper, Epinephelus areolatus ....

and Mycteroperca. In addition, the species classified in the small genera Anyperidon, Cromileptes, Dermatolepis, Gracila, Saloptia and Triso are also called groupers. Fish classified in the genus Plectropomus are referred to as coralgrouper
Plectropomus
Plectropomus is a genus of fish in the Serranidae family.-Species:*Plectropomus areolatus, Squaretail coralgrouper *Plectropomus laevis, Blacksaddled coralgrouper...

s. These genera are all classified in the subfamily Epiphelinae. However, some of the hamlets (genus Alphestes), the hinds (genus Cephalopholis), the lyretails
Yellow-edged lyretail
Yellow-edged lyretail is the common name for the species Variola louti. It is also commonly known as the lyretail grouper or the coronation cod.-Range:...

 (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 "groupers" on its own is usually taken as meaning the subfamily Epinephelinae.

Name origin

The word "grouper" comes from the word for the fish, most widely believed to be from the Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 name, garoupa. The origin of this name in Portuguese is believed to be from an indigenous South American language.

In Australia, the name "groper" is used instead of "grouper" for several species, such as the Queensland grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus). In the Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, it is named lapu-lapu in Luzon
Luzon
Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines. It is located in the northernmost region of the archipelago, and is also the name for one of the three primary island groups in the country centered on the Island of Luzon...

, while in the Visayas
Visayas
The Visayas or Visayan Islands and locally known as Kabisay-an gid, is one of the three principal geographical divisions of the Philippines, along with Mindanao and Luzon. It consists of several islands, primarily surrounding the Visayan Sea, although the Visayas are considered the northeast...

 and Mindanao
Mindanao
Mindanao is the second largest and easternmost island in the Philippines. It is also the name of one of the three island groups in the country, which consists of the island of Mindanao and smaller surrounding islands. The other two are Luzon and the Visayas. The island of Mindanao is called The...

 it goes by the name pugapo. In New Zealand, "groper" refers to a type of wreckfish, Polyprion oxygeneios, which goes by the Māori
Maori language
Māori or te reo Māori , commonly te reo , is the language of the indigenous population of New Zealand, the Māori. It has the status of an official language in New Zealand...

 name of hāpuku
Hapuku
The hāpuku, hapuka or whapuku, Polyprion oxygeneios, is a wreckfish of the family Polyprionidae, found around southern Australia, Chile, Tristan da Cunha, and New Zealand at depths of between 30 and 800 m...

. In the Middle East, the fish is known as hammour, and is widely eaten, especially in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
The Persian Gulf, in Southwest Asia, is an extension of the Indian Ocean located between Iran and the Arabian Peninsula.The Persian Gulf was the focus of the 1980–1988 Iran-Iraq War, in which each side attacked the other's oil tankers...

 region.

Description

Groupers are teleosts
Teleostei
Teleostei is one of three infraclasses in class Actinopterygii, the ray-finned fishes. This diverse group, which arose in the Triassic period, includes 20,000 extant species in about 40 orders; most living fishes are members of this group...

, 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
Pharynx
The human pharynx is the part of the throat situated immediately posterior to the mouth and nasal cavity, and anterior to the esophagus and larynx. The human pharynx is conventionally divided into three sections: the nasopharynx , the oropharynx , and the laryngopharynx...

. They habitually eat fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, octopus
Octopus
The octopus is a cephalopod mollusc of the order Octopoda. Octopuses have two eyes and four pairs of arms, and like other cephalopods they are bilaterally symmetric. An octopus has a hard beak, with its mouth at the center point of the arms...

es, and crustacean
Crustacean
Crustaceans form a very large group of arthropods, usually treated as a subphylum, which includes such familiar animals as crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles. The 50,000 described species range in size from Stygotantulus stocki at , to the Japanese spider crab with a leg span...

s. They lie in wait, rather than chasing in open water. According to the film-maker Graham Ferreira, there is at least one record, from Mozambique, of a human being killed by one of these fish.

Their mouth and gill
Gill
A gill is a respiratory organ found in many aquatic organisms that extracts dissolved oxygen from water, afterward excreting carbon dioxide. The gills of some species such as hermit crabs have adapted to allow respiration on land provided they are kept moist...

s form a powerful sucking system that sucks their prey in from a distance. They also use their mouth to dig into sand to form their shelters under big rocks, jetting it out through their gills. Their gill muscle
Muscle
Muscle is a contractile tissue of animals and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. Muscle cells contain contractile filaments that move past each other and change the size of the cell. They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles. Their function is to...

s are so powerful that it is nearly impossible to pull them out of a cave if they feel attacked and extend those muscles to lock themselves in.

There is some research indicating that roving coral groupers (Plectropomus pessuliferus) sometimes cooperate with giant morays
Moray eel
Moray eels are cosmopolitan eels of the family Muraenidae. The approximately 200 species in 15 genera are almost exclusively marine, but several species are regularly seen in brackish water and a few, for example the freshwater moray can sometimes be found in freshwater...

 in hunting.

Reproduction

Most groupers spawn
Spawn (biology)
Spawn refers to the eggs and sperm released or deposited, usually into water, by aquatic animals. As a verb, spawn refers to the process of releasing the eggs and sperm, also called spawning...

 between May and August. They are mostly monandric protogynous hermaphrodite
Protogynous hermaphrodite
A protogynous hermaphrodite is an animal that begins its life cycle as a female. As the animal ages, based on internal or external triggers, it shifts sex to become a male animal. Many fish, such as the gag grouper, undergo just such a metamorphosis. Male fecundity goes up greatly with age more...

s, i.e. they mature only as females and have the ability to change sex after sexual maturity. 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 fifteen females. Groupers often pair spawn, which enables large males to competitively exclude smaller males from reproducing. As such, if a small female grouper was to change sex before it could control a harem as a male its fitness would decrease. If no male is available the largest female that can increase fitness by changing sex will do so.

However some groupers are gonochoristic. Gonochorism, or a reproductive strategy with two distinct sexes, has evolved independently in groupers at least five times. The evolution of gonochorism is linked to group spawning high amounts of habitat cover. 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 teste size. Gonochoristic groupers have larger testes than protogynous groupers (10% of body mass compared to 1% of body mass), indicating that the evolution of gonochorism increased male grouper fitness in environments where large males were unable to competitively exclude small males from reproducing.

Modern use

Many groupers are important food fish, and some of them are now farmed
Fish farming
Fish farming is the principal form of aquaculture, while other methods may fall under mariculture. Fish farming involves raising fish commercially in tanks or enclosures, usually for food. A facility that releases young fish into the wild for recreational fishing or to supplement a species'...

. Unlike most other fish species which are chilled or frozen, groupers are usually sold live in markets. Many species are popular fish for sea-angling
Fishing
Fishing is the activity of trying to catch wild fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping....

. Some species are small enough to be kept in aquaria
Aquarium
An aquarium is a vivarium consisting of at least one transparent side in which water-dwelling plants or animals are kept. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals, turtles, and aquatic plants...

, though even the small species are inclined to grow rapidly.

Size

A newspaper reported a 180 kg grouper being caught off the waters near Pulau Sembilan in the Straits of Malacca on Tuesday, 15 January 2008. (Image at )

Shenzhen newspaper reported a 1.8-meter grouper swallowed a 1.0-meter whitetip reef shark
Whitetip reef shark
The whitetip reef shark is a species of requiem shark, family Carcharhinidae, and the only member of its genus. A small shark usually not exceeding in length, this species is easily recognizable by its slender body and short but broad head, as well as tubular skin flaps beside the nostrils, oval...

 at the Fuzhou Sea World aquarium.

In September 2010, a Costa Rican newspaper reported a 2.3-meter (7.5 feet) grouper in Cieneguita, Limón
Limón Province
Limón is one of seven provinces in Costa Rica. The majority of its territory is situated in the country's Caribbean lowlands, though the southwestern portion houses part of an extensive mountain range known as the Cordillera de Talamanca...

. The weight of the fish was 250 kg and it was lured using one kilogram of bait.
Species of grouper include:
  • Black grouper
    Black grouper
    The black grouper is one of the best known of the large group of Perciform fish called groupers.-Description:The black grouper is a large marine fish, growing up to 150 centimetres in length and 100 kilograms in weight. It has an olive or gray body, with black blotches and brassy spots...

     Mycteroperca bonaci
  • Comet grouper
    Comet grouper
    The comet grouper or blue grouper is a deep water fish found from the Red Sea and eastern Africa to the central Pacific Ocean. It is found near coral reefs at depths from 80 to 370 m and is non-migratory. It is sometimes confused with its relatives E. poecilonotus, E. radiatus, and E. tuamotoensis...

     Epinephelus morrhua
  • Gag grouper
    Gag grouper
    The gag grouper is a drab, mottled gray fish lacking the distinguishing features of other groupers. It has a pattern of markings which resemble the box-shaped spots of the black grouper. It lacks the streamer-points on the tail fin that scamp and yellowmouth grouper The gag grouper (Mycteroperca...

     Mycteroperca microlepis
  • Giant grouper
    Giant grouper
    The giant grouper , also known as the brindle bass, 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, Australia. It is found throughout the Indo-Pacific region, with the exception...

     Epinephelus lanceolatus
  • Goliath grouper
    Goliath grouper
    The Atlantic goliath grouper or itajara , commonly known as the Jewfish is a large saltwater fish of the grouper family found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs at depths anywhere from 15 to 165 feet...

     Epinephelus itajara
  • Miniata grouper
    Vermillion seabass
    The Vermillion seabass, also known as the Jewel Grouper or the Coral Hind is a species of fish in the Serranidae family.- Description :...

     Cephalopholis miniata
  • Nassau grouper
    Nassau grouper
    The Nassau grouper is one of the large number of Perciform fish in the family Serranidae that are 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 Nassau grouper is a U.S. National Marine...

     Epinephelus striatus
  • Saddletail grouper
    Saddletail grouper
    Epinephelus daemelii, 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. Black cod is found off the coastline of south-eastern Australia and northern New Zealand, generally...

     Epinephelus daemelii
  • Scamp grouper
    Scamp grouper
    The scamp is a protogynous grouper also known as Brown Grouper or Abadejo. It is normally found in reef over ledges and high-relief rocky bottoms in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and at low-profile bottoms at depths of 30 to 100 m in North Carolina. Juveniles can be found as high north as...

     Mycteroperca phenax
  • Tiger grouper
    Tiger grouper
    The tiger grouper is a species of fish in the Serranidae family. The grouper has a tapered body, often reddish, with vertical stripes on its sites. Young individuals have a yellow colour. This fish lives in sheltered reef areas...

     Mycteroperca tigris
  • Warsaw grouper Epinephelus nigritus
  • White grouper
    White grouper
    The white grouper is a species of grouper living in the subtropical eastern Atlantic Ocean and the southern Mediterranean Sea...

     Epinephelus aeneus
  • Yellowfin grouper
    Yellowfin grouper
    The yellowfin grouper is a coral reef fish native to the western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. It is generally a denizen of the deeper reef areas but it may venture into shallower waters, especially during the cooler seasons.The fish is variable in color but is usually similar in...

     Myceroperca venenosa

Cultural references

  • The grouper is depicted on the reverse side of the 100-Brazilian Reais
    Brazilian real
    The real is the present-day currency of Brazil. Its sign is R$ and its ISO code is BRL. It is subdivided into 100 centavos ....

     banknote. In Aruba, the 500 Aruban Guilder banknote also features a grouper in one of its faces.
  • KRI Kerapu, the Indonesian Navy
    Indonesian Navy
    The role of the Indonesian Navy is to patrol of Indonesia's immense coastline, to ensure safeguard the territorial waters and Exclusive Economic Zone , to protect Indonesia's maritime strategic interests, to protect the islands surrounded Indonesia and to defend against seaborne threats. The TNI...

     ship. Kerapu is Indonesian
    Indonesian language
    Indonesian is the official language of Indonesia. Indonesian is a normative form of the Riau Islands dialect of Malay, an Austronesian language which has been used as a lingua franca in the Indonesian archipelago for centuries....

     word for grouper.
  • USS Grouper (SS-214)
    USS Grouper (SS-214)
    USS Grouper , a Gato-class submarine, was the only ship of the United States Navy to be named for the grouper, a salt-water fish noted as a gamefish and for its food values....

     was the name of a United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    Navy submarine.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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