Creature Feature – Atlantic Goliath Grouper
This week on Creature Feature Friday we take a look at the Atlantic goliath grouper.
The Atlantic goliath grouper is a saltwater fish of the grouper family and is one of the largest species of bony fish found in our oceans.
Scientific Name: Epinephelus itajara
© Albert Kok
Atlantic Goliath Grouper Fact File
Size: Individuals can grow up to 2.5m long and weigh over 350kg
Distribution: They can be found primarily in shallow tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs, including the Gulf of Mexico and Florida Keys in the United States, the Bahamas, most of the Caribbean, and most of the Brazilian coast
Diet: Like most groupers, this species is an ambush predator and eats fairly large fishes and invertebrates and even small sharks
Behaviour: Throughout most of the year, low numbers of Atlantic goliath groupers are observed in any one place. However, during reproduction they come together in groups of at least 100 individuals
IUCN Status: Vulnerable. Scientists believe that destructive fishing practices have reduced the numbers of Atlantic goliath groupers by at least 80%. Reefs with large numbers of predators, like this species, are known to be healthier than reefs with no predators, so this species may represent an important part of the reef food web