Grouper; Portuguese: garoupa de Sao Tomé; Spanish: cherna americana, cherna de vivero, mero americano, mero paracamo.
Red grouper have different coloration, usually dark brown-red, may have dark stripes and spots similar to those of the Nassau grouper, as well as several small whitish spots scattered in an irregular pattern. It is distinguished from the Nassau grouper by its lack of a saddle spot and its smooth, straight dorsal anterior fin. In the Nassau grouper, the dorsal fin is serrated. The soft dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are blackish. The edges of the posterior dorsal, anal, and caudal fins are pale bluish, and there are small black spots around the eyes. The coloration of the mouth cavity is scarlet to orange. The second spine of the dorsal fin is longer than the rest, the pectoral fins are longer than the pelvic fins, and the tail has a characteristic square shape.
In the western Atlantic, red grouper range from North Carolina to southern Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean, and Bermuda; some fish stray as far as Massachusetts. They are found only occasionally in Florida and the Bahamas, and rarely in the Caribbean.
Red grouper are bottom-dwelling fish, occurring over rocky and muddy bottoms, at the margins of seagrass beds, and in ledges, crevices, and caverns of rocky limestone reefs; they are uncommon around coral reefs. They prefer depths of 6 to 400 feet, although they more commonly hold between 80 and 400 feet. Red grouper are usually solitary, resting on the bottom and blending with their surroundings.
The red grouper is usually 1 to 2 feet long and weighs up to 15 pounds, although it can reach 31⁄2 feet and 50 pounds. Male red grouper live longer than females, up to 25 years.
Life history and Behavior
Like many other grouper, red grouper undergo a sex change, with females turning into males, between 7 and 14 years of age or when they reach 18-26 inches in length.
Food and feeding habits
Red grouper feed on a wide variety of fish, invertebrates, and crustaceans, including squid, crabs, shrimp, lobsters, and octopus.
Spawning takes place from March through July, with a spike in activity in April and May, with water temperatures ranging from 63° to 77 °F and at depths of 80 to 300 feet.
|Life span, years||No information|
|Maximum body weight, kg||23|
|Maximum length, cm||125|
|Sailing speed, m/s||No information|
|Threat to people||Edible|
|Way of eating||Predator|