The red grouper is a species of fish in the Serranidae family. It is found in Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Brazil, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Netherlands Antilles, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands, the United States, Venezuela, the British Virgin Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Its natural habitats are open seas, shallow seas, subtidal aquatic beds, coral reefs, rocky shores, sandy shores, estuarine waters, intertidal flats, intertidal marshes, coastal saline lagoons, coastal freshwater lagoons, and karsts.
The Red Grouper is an opportunistic feeder and a top predator in the reef community. The diet is varied but commonly includes lutjanid and sparid fishes, xanthid and portunid crabs, spiny lobster, and snapping shrimp. The Red grouper is of moderate size, about 125 cm and weighs 23 kg or more Body coloration is typically reddish-brown color. White spots are commonly found on the body of the red grouper. Red grouper are unique in the fact that they are protogynous hermaphrodites, beginning life as females, with some later transforming into males. Females transform into males between the ages of 7 and 14.Spawning occurs between January and June, peaking in May. Red Grouper are mostly batch spawners. Larval red grouper leave the plankton after approximately 1 month.
Red grouper are easily recognized by their color and by the sloped, straight line of their spiny dorsal fin. The fin has a long second spine and an unnotched interpine membrane. Most epinepheline groupers have a notched dorsal spine membrane and a third spine longer than the second. The body is deep brownish-red overall, with occational white spots on the sides. Tiny black specks dot the cheeks and operculum. The red grouper is most closely related to the Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus, which has several verticle bars and blotches, and is found more commonly on coral reefs in the West Indies.
Red groupers usually ambush their prey and swallow it hole, preffering crabs, shrimp, lobster, actopus, squid and fish that live close to reefs.
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