Black Grouper – Profile | Traits | Facts | Diet | Biology | Catch

black grouper

Black grouper, scientific name Mycteroperca bonaci, the black rockfish, or marbled rockfish, is a species of marine ray-finned fish, a grouper from the subfamily Epinephelinae which is a part of the family Serranidae, which additionally consists of the anthias and sea basses.

Black grouper Profile

This rectangular reef fish has small eyes over a protruding lower jaw and a steady dorsal fin that leads back to its sq. caudal (tail) fin. It’s an olive-gray shade with darkish blotches and bronze hexagonal shapes on its head and sides.

Like most groupers, these all start out as females, after which at a sure age and size, they turn out to be males. They desire the rocky bottoms around reefs within the Western Atlantic, the place they eat smaller fish and crustaceans and develop to nearly 52 inches long.

The black grouper is discovered all through the western Atlantic Ocean. The northern boundary of its range is off Massachusetts and extends east to Bermuda.

The range extends south to southern Brazil. It can be present within the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, together with the Florida Keys and Cuba.

Black groupers are discovered primarily on rocky bottoms and in coral reef environments. Their depth ranges anyplace from 19 to 108 feet (6 to 33 meters). Juvenile black groupers are additionally present in seagrass beds off of the coast of Florida.

Other fish are generally known as the black grouper together with the same gag grouper (Mycteroperca microlepis), the misty grouper (Hyporthodus mystacinus), and the critically endangered Warsaw grouper (Epinephelus nigritus). This species is discovered within the western Atlantic Ocean from the northeastern United States to Brazil.

Black Grouper

Black grouper Common Names

English language widespread names embody black grouper, black rockfish, rockfish, and marbled rockfish. Black groupers are referred to by many widespread names worldwide together with: abade bonaci (Mexico), aguaji (Cuba), badeche bonaci (France), badejo-ferro, badejo-preto, badejo-quadrado (Brazil), bonaci (Cuba), bonaci arrara (Cuba), bonaci gato (Mexico), bonaci-havaborre (Denmark), bonaci arara (UK), cerigado-preto (Brazil), cherna (Colombia), cuna (Spain), cuna bonaci (Nicaragua), cuna guarei (Venezuela), djampau (NethAntilles), guajil (Puerto Rico), mero (Dominican Republic), mero pinto (Puerto Rico), merou (France), perka marmurkowa (Poland), quadradinho (Brazil), Schwarzer Zackenbarsch (Germany), serigado, serigado-preto, sirigado (Brazil), and svart grouper (Sweden).

Black grouper Distribution

Western Atlantic: Bermuda and Massachusetts, USA to southern Brazil, together with the southern Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. Adults are unknown from the northeastern coast of the USA.

Mycteroperca bonaci is discovered within the western Atlantic the place its range extends from Cape Canaveral in Florida and Bermuda south to the Bahamas, into the Gulf of Mexico as far north as Alabama, and from southern Texas alongside the coast of Mexico and Cuba.

It happens all through the Caribbean Sea, alongside the coast of South America to Santa Catarina in Brazil. Its range extends to the Brazilian islands of Trinidad and Fernando de Noronha.

There is a spot in its distribution alongside the northern coast of South America between Paramaribo in Suriname and Maranhao in Brazil. Occurrences in United States waters north to Massachusetts are juveniles and due to this fact thought of vagrants.

Black Grouper

Black grouper Habitat and biology

Mycteroperca bonaci happens over rocky bottoms and coral reefs at depths of 10 to 30 meters (33 to 98 ft), nonetheless, within the eastern Gulf of Mexico it’s usually encountered at depths of more than 30 meters (98 ft).

It is often a solitary species, the adults feeding primarily on fishes, resembling grunts, snappers, and herrings, and the juveniles feed on crustaceans.

Black groupers have been recorded forming seasonal feeding aggregations alongside the outer continental shelf of Brazil, these coincide with spawning aggregations of some fish species the groupers prey on.

They are is monandric protogynous hermaphrodites and so they type spawning aggregations and these have been reported from within the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.

Females attain sexual maturity at around 5years old and at a size of around 82.6 centimeters (32.5 in) and the change of sex to males happens when they’re around 15 years old and at a mean size of 121.4 centimeters (47.8 in).

Black Grouper

Black grouper Description

Dorsal spines (total): 11; Dorsal comfortable rays (total): 15-17; Anal spines: 3; Anal comfortable rays: 11 – 13. Distinguished by the next traits: Side body has rectangular darkish grey blotches.

The outer third of the second dorsal, anal, and caudal fins black. Edge of preopercle easy, without pronounced lobe at an angle; 17-24 total gill rakers; depth of body 3.3-3.5 instances in SL; head size 2.5-2.8 instances in SL; evenly rounded preopercle, without distinct notch or lobe on the angle; subequal sizes of anterior and posterior nostrils.

Myctoperca bonaci has an oblong, laterally compressed body with a standard size which is 3.3 to three.5 instances its depth. It has an evenly rounded preopercle with no incisions or lobes at its angle.

The dorsal fin comprises 11 spines and 15-17 comfortable rays whereas the anal fin has 3 spines and 11-13 comfortable rays, each fin having rounded margins.

The caudal fin is truncate to emarginate, though it could be convex if unfold broadly. This species has an overall t’s olive-grey shade and is marked with darkish blotches and brassy hexagonal spots over the top and flanks.

Black Grouper

The pectoral fins are sooty brown, fading to orange in the direction of the margin; the comfortable rayed a part of the dorsal fin and the anal fin, in addition to the ahead fringe of the pelvic fin, have a darkish margin.

This fish attains a most total size of 150 centimeters (59 in), though they’re more widespread at around 70 centimeters (28 in) and a most printed weight of 100 kilograms (220 lb).


Black groupers can attain as much as 52 inches (133 cm) in size and may weigh as much as 179 pounds (81 kg). Most of the black grouper which can be caught average a little bit over 2 feet in size (70 cm).

They can live over 30 years, however, a lot of the growth happens in the course of the first ten years of life.


Black groupers are generally landed in business grouper fisheries within the Gulf of Mexico and the South Atlantic Ocean. They are additionally quite common in leisure fishery. The meat generates a reasonably high value and is taken into account superb quality.

Black Grouper

Black grouper Cons

There have been reported instances of ciguatera from human consumption of black grouper. Ciguatera poisoning is attributable to dinoflagellates (microalgae) discovered on useless corals or macroalgae.

By feeding on these corals and macroalgae, herbivorous fishes accumulate a toxin generated by these dinoflagellates. Largely a phenomenon of tropical marine environments, ciguatoxin accumulates nonetheless additional in snappers and different massive predatory reef species that feed on these herbivorous fishes.

If collected ranges of the toxin are great sufficient they’ll trigger poisoning in people who devour the flesh of those fishes.

Poisoned people report having gastrointestinal issues for as much as a number of days, and basic weak spot of their legs and arms. It could be very uncommon to be stricken with ciguatera poisoning.


Adult black grouper feed totally on different smaller reef fishes, together with grunts, snapper, and herrings. They additionally feed on crustaceans. Juvenile black groupers feed solely on crustaceans.

Black Grouper


The black grouper has olive or grey body coloration together with darkish rectangular blotches and small hexagonal bronze spots on its head and lower aspect.

The borders of the comfortable dorsal, anal, and caudal fin are black or bluish; generally, there’s an orangish edge together with the pectoral fins.

Black grouper Biology

A solitary species inhabiting rocky and coral reefs. Adults feed totally on fishes; juveniles primarily on crustaceans. Oviparous. A protogynous hermaphrodite. Forms spawning aggregations. Common however tough to the method. Marketed contemporary and its flesh is of fantastic quality.

The black grouper is a big hearty fish with a protruding lower jaw. It has a rectangular body form and rounded margins on each of the dorsal and anal fins.

The caudal fin is squared-off, and the dorsal fin has 11 spines and 15-17 rays. The preopercle is rounded without the presence of a notch, which distinguishes it from the gag grouper (Mycteroperca microlepis).

Black Grouper


Common predators of black grouper are sandbar sharks (Carcharhinus plumbeus) and great hammerhead (Sphyrna mokarran). They might also be preyed upon by barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) and moray eels.


The front teeth of the black grouper are well-developed canine teeth. Groupers have a number of units of sturdy, slender teeth that act as raspers. These teeth will not be used to tear flesh as with the barracudas and sharks, however relatively to stop small fish from escaping.


Black grouper are protogynous hermaphrodites. This signifies that all the fish are born as females. Later in life, a number of fish will change from male to feminine so the inhabitants can reproduce.

Those black groupers that undergo this process, achieve this once they attain about 39 – 47.8 inches (99.0 – 121.5 cm). They are reproductively energetic from November through May

Black Grouper


Black grouper are fished each recreationally and commercially in waters around Florida, particularly the Gulf of Mexico. Black grouper have to be no less than 22 inches (55.9cm) to land recreationally and 24 inches (60.0cm) inches to land recreationally.

Black groupers don’t mature till they develop past 28 inches (71.1cm), landing them at sizes smaller than this can be detrimental to black grouper populations as a result of many animals landed will not be given the chance to breed.

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