Queensland Giant Grouper
Scientific name: Epinephelus lanceolatus
The Giant grouper is found throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
The Giant Grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus) can also be known as the Brindle Bass. Giant Grouper, along with the Marlin species and Swordfish, is one of the world's largest bony fish and the aquatic emblem of Queensland. The species can grow as large as 3 m long, weighing up to 600 kg, and there have been unconfirmed reports of attacks on humans.
This giant fish is similar to an Estuary Cod and colour changes with age. The giant grouper has a large mouth and a rounded tail. It can expand its mouth to create a strong suction, which allows it to engulf its unsuspecting food. Juveniles have irregular black and yellow markings, while adults are green-grey to grey-brown with faint mottling. There are numerous small black spots on the fins.
They are fairly common in shallow waters and feed on a variety of marine life, including small sharks and juvenile sea turtles as well as other inhabitants of reef systems, including fish, spiny lobsters and other crustaceans.
The giant grouper has at least seven rows of teeth on the middle of its lower jaw. Groupers start out life as females and later switch sex to male with age. Its eyes function effectively in dim light, giving it an advantage over prey during dawn and dusk. Young giant grouper are bright yellow with large, irregular black or brown bars.
Due to over fishing the giant grouper has been listed as “vulnerable” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) list of threatened animals. The giant grouper population is thought to be declining at a rate of 20 percent every 10 years. In many parts of their range, giant groupers have been wiped out because of cyanide and the use of explosives for fishing on reefs. This species can live to be more than 50 years old, which means it takes some time for younger fish to replace the older, larger fish in an environment.