Overview

Comprehensive Description

This subfamily comprises the large commercially-important groupers of the region. There are several epinepheline genera with a single species in the region (one with two) and then two large genera, the Epinephelus and the Mycteroperca. The phylogenetics of the Serranidae have been recently examined by Craig and Hastings (2007), and they find that the regional Mycteroperca do form a distinct clade, but the regional Epinephelus split into three clades: the true Epinephelus including the common shallow-water species, the deep-water set of species (or Hyporthodus), and the deep-water E. drummondhayi (or Triso). Interestingly, Paranthias furcifer falls within the Cephalopholis clade, despite its derived form and non-benthic habits. This conclusion is reinforced by the report of hybrids between the two genera from both Noronha and Bermuda.

The basic body form and appearance of many groupers are the same and they are difficult to distinguish in the field. The two large genera are most easily separated by the anal-fin ray count: only eight soft rays (occasionally nine) in the Epinephelus and usually 11 or more (rarely 10) in the Mycteroperca (all have 11 dorsal-fin spines and 3 anal-fin spines, except E. nigritus with ten). Two small reef groupers, the Graysby and the Coney, belong to Cephalopholis, easily separated by having only nine dorsal-fin spines. The remaining regional epinephelines comprise Paranthias furcifer (with D-IX,18-19 A-III,9), Dermatolepis inermis (with D-XI,18-20 A-III,9), Alphestes afer (with D-XI,18-19 A-III,9), and the deep-water Gonioplectrus hispanus (with D-VIII,13 A-III,7).

Fin-ray counts can identify most Caribbean epinepheline larvae to genus relatively easily. However, within genera there is a broad overlap of fin-ray counts and little variation in body form, making DNA-sequence analyses critical to differentiating the larval groupers.

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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 632 specimens in 26 taxa.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 316 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 80000
  Temperature range (°C): 9.968 - 27.537
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.162 - 30.223
  Salinity (PPS): 33.041 - 37.096
  Oxygen (ml/l): 0.767 - 6.375
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.025 - 2.132
  Silicate (umol/l): 0.868 - 21.239

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 80000

Temperature range (°C): 9.968 - 27.537

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.162 - 30.223

Salinity (PPS): 33.041 - 37.096

Oxygen (ml/l): 0.767 - 6.375

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.025 - 2.132

Silicate (umol/l): 0.868 - 21.239
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Associations

Known predators

Epinephelinae (large groupers, carnivorous) is prey of:
Chondrichthyes

Based on studies in:
Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands shelf (Reef)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Opitz S (1996) Trophic interactions in Caribbean coral reefs. ICLARM Tech Rep 43, Manila, Philippines
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Known prey organisms

Epinephelinae (large groupers, carnivorous) preys on:
Chondrichthyes
Actinopterygii
phytoplankton
Cheloniidae
Cephalopoda
Decapoda

Based on studies in:
Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands shelf (Reef)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • Opitz S (1996) Trophic interactions in Caribbean coral reefs. ICLARM Tech Rep 43, Manila, Philippines
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:2659
Specimens with Sequences:2494
Specimens with Barcodes:2250
Species:158
Species With Barcodes:154
Public Records:979
Public Species:106
Public BINs:127
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Barcode data

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Wikipedia

Grouper

For other uses, see Grouper (disambiguation).

Groupers or gropers[1] /ɡrpə/ are fish of any of a number of genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae of the family Serranidae, in the order Perciformes.

Not all serranids are called groupers; the family also includes the sea basses. The common name grouper is usually given to fish in one of two large genera: Epinephelus and Mycteroperca. In addition, the species classified in the small genera Anyperidon, Cromileptes, Dermatolepis, Gracila, Saloptia, and Triso are also called groupers. Fish in the genus Plectropomus are referred to as coralgroupers. These genera are all classified in the subfamily Epiphelinae. However, some of the hamlets (genus Alphestes), the hinds (genus Cephalopholis), the lyretails (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 "grouper" on its own is usually taken as meaning the subfamily Epinephelinae.

Name origin[edit]

The word "grouper" is most widely believed[by whom?]to be from the Portuguese name, garoupa. The origin of this name in Portuguese is believed to be from an indigenous South American language.[2][3]

In Australia, "groper" is used instead of "grouper" for several species, such as the Queensland grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus). In the Philippines, it is named lapu-lapu in Luzon, while in the Visayas and Mindanao it goes by the name pugapo.[citation needed] In New Zealand, "groper" refers to a type of wreckfish, Polyprion oxygeneios, which goes by the Māori name hāpuku.[4] In the Middle East, the fish is known as hammour, and is widely eaten, especially in the Persian Gulf region.[5][6]

Description[edit]

Anatomy of a grouper

Groupers are teleosts, 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[citation needed], 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. They habitually eat fish, octopuses, and crustaceans. Some species prefer to ambush their prey, while other species are active predators. Reports of fatal attacks on humans by the largest species, the giant grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus) are unconfirmed.[7]

Their mouths and gills form a powerful sucking system that sucks their prey in from a distance. They also use their mouths to dig into sand to form their shelters under big rocks, jetting it out through their gills. Their gill muscles are so powerful, it is nearly impossible to pull them out of a cave if they feel attacked and extend those muscles to lock themselves in.[citation needed]

Research indicates roving coralgroupers (Plectropomus pessuliferus) sometimes cooperate with giant morays in hunting.[8]

Reproduction[edit]

Groupers are mostly monandric protogynous hermaphrodites, i.e. they mature only as females and have the ability to change sex after sexual maturity.[9][10] Some species of 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 15 females.[9][11] Groupers often pair spawn, which enables large males to competitively exclude smaller males from reproducing.[9][12][13][14] As such, if a small female grouper were to change sex before it could control a harem as a male, its fitness would decrease.[12][13][14] If no male is available, the largest female that can increase fitness by changing sex will do so.[13]

However, some groupers are gonochoristic.[9] Gonochorism, or a reproductive strategy with two distinct sexes, has evolved independently in groupers at least five times.[9] The evolution of gonochorism is linked to group spawning high amounts of habitat cover.[9][13][15] 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 testicle size.[11][13][16] Gonochoristic groupers have larger testes than protogynous groupers (10% of body mass compared to 1% of body mass), indicating the evolution of gonochorism increased male grouper fitness in environments where large males were unable to competitively exclude small males from reproducing.[11]

Parasites[edit]

A monogenean parasitic on the gill of a grouper

As other fish, groupers harbour parasites, including digeneans,[17] nematodes, cestodes, monogeneans, isopods, and copepods. A study conducted in New Caledonia has shown that coral reef-associated groupers have about 10 species of parasites per fish species.[18]

Modern use[edit]

Gulai kerapu, a grouper-based Padang food

Many groupers are important food fish, and some of them are now farmed. Unlike most other fish species which are chilled or frozen, groupers are usually sold live in markets.[19] Many species are popular fish for sea-angling. Some species are small enough to be kept in aquaria, though even the small species are inclined to grow rapidly.[citation needed]

Groupers are commonly reported as a source of Ciguatera fish poisoning. DNA barcoding of grouper species might help in controlling Ciguatera fish poisoning since fish are easily identified, even from meal remnants, with molecular tools.[20]

Size[edit]

The Malaysian newspaper, the Star reported a 180-kg grouper being caught off the waters near Pulau Sembilan in the Straits of Malacca in January 2008.[21] Shenzhen News in China reported that a 1.8-m grouper swallowed a 1.0-m whitetip reef shark at the Fuzhou Sea World aquarium.[22]

In September 2010, a Costa Rican newspaper reported a 2.3-m (7.5-ft) grouper in Cieneguita, Limón. The weight of the fish was 250 kg (550 lb) and it was lured using one kilogram of bait.[23] In November 2013, a 310-kg (686-lbs.) grouper had been caught and sold to a hotel in Dongyuan, China.[24]

Cultural references[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oxford University Press, "Oxford Dictionary: 'grouper'", Oxford English Dictionary, Retrieved 11 September 2014.
  2. ^ "Online Etymology Dictionary". Etymonline.com. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  3. ^ "garrupa - definition and meaning from". Wordnik. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  4. ^ "Coastal fish - Hāpuku - Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand". Teara.govt.nz. 2 March 2009. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  5. ^ "Food and Drink – Local Dishes". UAE Interact. Retrieved 2011-08-12. 
  6. ^ "Handling hammour". TimeOut Abu Dhabi. 19 January 2009. Retrieved 2011-08-12. 
  7. ^ Lieske, E., and R. Myers (1999). Coral Reef Fishes. 2nd edition. ISBN 0-691-02659-9
  8. ^ "Interspecific Communicative and Coordinated Hunting between Groupers and Giant Moray Eels in the Red Sea". Biology.plosjournals.org. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Erisman, B. E., M. T. Craig and P. A. Hastings. 2009. A phylogenetic test of the size-advantage model: Evolutionary changes in mating behavior influence the loss of sex change in a fish lineage. American Naturalist 174:83-99.
  10. ^ DeMartini, E. E., A. R. Everson and R. S. Nichols. 2011. Estimates of body sizes at maturation and at sex change, and the spawning seasonality and sex ratio of the endemic Hawaiian grouper (Hyporthodus quernus, f. Epinephelidae). Fishery Bulletin 109:123-134.
  11. ^ a b c Sadovy, Y. and P. L. Colin. 1995. Sexual development and sexuality in the nassau grouper. Journal of Fish Biology 46:961-976.
  12. ^ a b Allsop, D. J. and S. A. West. 2003. Constant relative age and size at sex change for sequentially hermaphroditic fish. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 16:921-929.
  13. ^ a b c d e Munoz, R. C. and R. R. Warner. 2003. A new version of the size-advantage hypothesis for sex change: Incorporating sperm competition and size-fecundity skew. American Naturalist 161:749-761.
  14. ^ a b Kuwamura, T. 2004. Sex change in fishes: Its process and evolutionary mechanism. Zoological Science 21:1248-1248.
  15. ^ Erisman, B. E., J. A. Rosales-Casian and P. A. Hastings. 2008. Evidence of gonochorism in a grouper, Mycteroperca rosacea, from the Gulf of California, Mexico. Environmental Biology of Fishes 82:23-33.
  16. ^ Molloy, P. P., N. B. Goodwin, I. M. Cote, J. D. Reynolds and M. J. G. Gage. 2007. Sperm competition and sex change: A comparative analysis across fishes. Evolution 61:640-652.
  17. ^ Cribb, T. H., Bray, R. A., Wright, T. & Pichelin, S. 2002: The trematodes of groupers (Serranidae: Epinephelinae): knowledge, nature and evolution. Parasitology, 124, S23-S42.
  18. ^ Justine, J.-L., Beveridge, I., Boxshall, G. A., Bray, R. A., Moravec, F., Trilles, J.-P. & Whittington, I. D. 2010: An annotated list of parasites (Isopoda, Copepoda, Monogenea, Digenea, Cestoda and Nematoda) collected in groupers (Serranidae, Epinephelinae) in New Caledonia emphasizes parasite biodiversity in coral reef fish. Folia Parasitologica, 57, 237-262. doi:10.14411/fp.2010.032 PDF
  19. ^ "Most consumers prefer to purchase live groupers in fish markets". Retrieved 2011-04-29. 
  20. ^ Schoelinck, C., Hinsinger, D. D., Dettaï, A., Cruaud, C. & Justine, J.-L. 2014: A phylogenetic re-analysis of groupers with applications for ciguatera fish poisoning. PLoS ONE, 9, e98198. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098198
  21. ^ "Whopper of a grouper bought for RM10,000". Thestar.com.my. 17 January 2008. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  22. ^ "海底"血案":巨型石斑鱼一口吞下白鳍鲨". Sznews.com. 30 March 2006. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  23. ^ Diario La Extra 2010, Marvin Carvajal. "Cayó el más mero en el Caribe". 
  24. ^ "Photos: Fishermen catch wildly huge 686-pound fish, sell it to hotel". 
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