Global Range: Distributed in the Western North Atlantic from Bermuda, Florida, Bahamas, Yucatan Peninsula, and throughout the Caribbean to southern Brazil; not known from the Gulf of Mexico except at the Campeche Bank off the coast of the Yucatan, at Dry Tortugas, and off Key West, Florida (Beebe and Tee-van 1933, Randall 1965, Heemstra and Randall 1993). Occurs in a broad area between the 23 degree Celsius isotherm that stretches from Bermuda and Florida, throughout the Yucatan Peninsula to Venezuela; primarily insular and most abundant throughout its range in the West Indies (Carter et al. 1990). Reports north of the Carolinas on the southeast coast of the U.S. are probably a result of larval transport (Jory and Iversen 1989). Appears to be absent from the Gulf of Mexico where it is replaced by its closest relative, the red grouper (Epinephelus morio), a species which inhabits broad continental shelf areas. Specific location records are as follows: Bahamas (Smith 1972, Roe 1976, ), Cayman Islands (Colin et al. 1987, Tucker et al. 1993), Netherlands Antilles (Nagelkerken 1981a, Polunin and Roberts 1993), Jamaica (Thompson and Munro 1983), Campeche Bank (Roe 1976), Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands (Olsen and LaPlace 1978, Beets and Friedlander 1992, Beets 1993), Central America, Colombia, and Venezuela (Smith 1971), southern Mexico (Aguilar-Perera 1990), Turks and Caicos Islands (Spotte et al. 1992), south Florida (Starck 1968, Voss et al. 1969), and northwestern Gulf of Mexico (Rezak et al. 1985). Olsen and LaPlace (1978): lots of breeding aggregations in St. Croix during 1971. Olsen and LaPlace (1978): aggregations occur in St. Thomas at a point on the 100 fathom curve 8 miles south of St. Thomas. Tucker (1992): aggregations at Coxswain Bank, south of Sand Cay, and Twelve-mile Bank. Smith (1972): aggregations at Cat Cay and Great Isaacs, Bahamas. Colin et al. (1987): aggregations found at Grand Cayman Island (102042N, 810348W). Aggregations at the easternmost projections adjacent to Little Cayman (194212N, 795654W) and Cayman Brac (194500N, 794254W). Colin (1992): two spawning aggregations at Long Island, Bahamas (Little Harbor, 230033N, 744822W and Southern Point, 225100N, 745130W). Spawning aggregations also documented at Lighthouse Reef, Belize. Burnett-Herkes (1975): spawning aggregations documented at 322500N, 643300W and 321200N, 655900W. Tucker and Bush (in press): five spawning aggregations in the Cayman Islands, (1) Coxswain Reef (192021N, 810418W), northeastern corner of Grand Cayman fringing reef; (2) southwestern corner of the Grand Cayman reef (191600N, 812300W); (3) Twelve Mile Bank at Grand Cayman (192000N, 813000W); (4) southeaster corner of Little Cayman Reef (194212N, 795712W); and (5) southeastern corner of Cayman Brac Reef (194506N, 794300W).
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