Yellowfin Grouper – Profile | Traits | Facts | Habitat | Diet

Yellowfin grouper

The yellowfin grouper, scientific name Mycteroperca venenosa 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. It is discovered within the hotter waters of the western Atlantic Ocean.

Yellowfin Grouper Overview

Males are bigger than females and are distinguished by a yellow blotch on both sides of the lower jaw. Females have a reddish lower jaw.

The yellowfin grouper is discovered within the western Atlantic Ocean. Its range extends alongside the Atlantic coasts of the United States from North Carolina south to Florida and into the Gulf of Mexico the place it happens within the Florida Keys and the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary in Texas south by means of the Bahamas into the West Indies and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico.

It can be discovered around Bermuda. Along the Caribbean coast of South America, it happens as far east as French Guiana. It happens alongside the Brazilian coast from Maranhao to Sao Paulo, together with the islands of Trinidade and the Fernando de Noronha.

The yellowfin grouper is discovered over rocky or coral reefs as adults, juveniles are present in beds of turtle grass. This species has additionally been caught by trawlers over muddy bottoms within the Gulf of Mexico.

Its depth range is 2 to 137 meters (6.6 to 449.5 ft)> It is a protogynous hermaphrodite and the females attain sexual maturity at a fork size around 51 centimeters (20 in) and at around 4.6 years old.

They will then change sex to male at a fork size of 80.1 centimeters (31.5 in). It kinds of spawning aggregations and these happen at completely different instances of the year in numerous elements of its range. This species is principally piscivorous with over 90% of abdomen contents sampled consisting of reef fishes with some squid.

Geographic Range

Yellowfin grouper may be discovered all through the western Atlantic Ocean, from the north and east coasts of South America (as far south as Sao Paulo, Brazil) to the east coast of Central America, together with the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, in addition to the southern coast of Florida. They are additionally discovered within the waters surrounding Bermuda.


Juvenile yellowfin grouper frequent shallow turtle grass beds, whereas adults could also be found out to the continental shelf break.

Longline catches of adults around Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands present that adults can frequent depths of as much as 198 m; adults are repeatedly present in waters from 2-137 m deep and are commonest at depths of 5-35 m.

Yellowfin grouper is thought of as a “secretive” species, as their habitat is considered dictated by their need for shelter versus the supply of prey. As adults, they like areas that supply this shelter, resembling offshore reefs, irregular rock formations, and sunken shipwrecks.


The maximum lifespan has been estimated at 15 years within the wild. The inhabitants doubling time for this species is estimated at 4.5-14 years. There is not any information on lifespan in captivity presently obtainable.

Yellowfin Grouper Description

The yellowfin grouper has a body that is elongate, strong, and compressed, its depth being no higher on the origin of the dorsal fin as it’s on the origin of the anal fin.

The standard size is 2.6 to 2.9 instances of the depth of the body. The preopercle is neatly rounded. generally having a small incision, and doesn’t have a lobe at its angle.

Yellowfin grouper have a fusiform (cylindrical and tapering) body form and are sturdy and agile swimmers. Their body coloration is very variable, as these fish are ready to make use of chromatophores to quickly change color and shade in response to their environments.

Most usually, they’re a pale olive-green to brown, however might range to grey and even black. Specimens taken from depths exceeding 35 m are sometimes red in color, with darker red blotches; body color is normally more brownish in specimens inhabiting shallower waters.

Coloration change, from lighter or reddish to a darker, more drab color, tends to happen as a fish ages and strikes deeper water. Other adjustments in coloration noticed embody a darkish section, through which the fish is totally darkish with no blotches (additionally noticed when a fish is hiding); a bicolor section, through which the fish is darkish grey dorsally, contrasting with a light ventral coloration; and a white-headed section, seen throughout interactions with conspecifics, together with throughout breeding.

Yellowfin Grouper

Yellowfin grouper have distinctive darkish blotches in oval-shaped teams on their heads and our bodies, vast, sensible yellow margins on their pectoral fins, and yellow-edged mouths. Their bellies are pink in color. The caudal fin is barely truncated.

The dorsal fin has 11 spines and 15-16 rays. Individuals as much as 100 cm have been discovered, though average lengths are around 50 cm. The most recorded weight for this species is eighteen.5 kg.

The dorsal fin of the Yellowfin Grouper incorporates 11 spines and 15-16 smooth rays whereas the anal fin incorporates 3 spines and 10-12 smooth rays. The membranes between the dorsal fin spines are clearly notched.

The caudal fin is straight in juveniles and a bit concave in adults. The head and body are marked with oval teams of darkish spots and the outer third of the pectoral fin is a vibrant yellow.

There are two color morphs: a deep-water reddish morph and a shallow-water greenish morph. This species attains a total size of 100 centimeters (39 in), though they’re generally around 450 centimeters (180 in), and a most revealed weight of 18.5 kilograms (41 lb).

Ecosystem Roles

Yellowfin grouper are vital secondary and tertiary predators, in addition to a major meal source for apex predators, resembling sharks.

Their nares might comprise ectoparasitic isopods, and people have been discovered contaminated with intestinal parasitic flatworms in addition to nematodes of their ovaries, which can hinder egg manufacturing.

There is little evidence that yellowfin grouper have a natural immunity to some trematodes, resembling Epibdella melleni.

Yellowfin Grouper Conservation

Yellowfin grouper are categorized as “near-threatened” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. They are susceptible to overfishing, significantly once they combination to spawn.

In the Caribbean, a couple third of spawning aggregations have utterly disappeared as a consequence of over-fishing. From 1998 to 2013, the spawning aggregation in Belize declined 80%.

Data from Bermuda and the Caribbean embody proof of diminishing shares and declines in weight as a lot as 15 fold between the years 1979-1981, as a consequence of unregulated exploitation. Spawning sites in Belize, Cuba, and Mexico are declining and are subject to business exploitation.


Gametogenesis is discontinuous and asynchronous; completely different sizes and levels of eggs are carried and launched at a time.

Eggs and larvae are planktonic and larvae settle anyplace from one week to 2 or three months after hatching. Fry is red with light blotches that develop darker as they age.

Yellowfin Grouper

Yellowfin Grouper Reproduction

Yellowfin grouper kind spawning aggregations. The size of those teams varies relying on locality, with teams of anyplace from 2-4 people to tons of. Breeding is promiscuous.

Males with the white-headed color section display to females, first positioning themselves alongside them, then turning 90° sharply above them, whereas twitching their our bodies. Males additionally produce low-frequency sounds in uniform pulses and variable pulse calls, to induce females to spawn.

Yellowfin grouper are protogynous hermaphrodites, altering sex from feminine to male upon reaching roughly 65 cm in size (roughly 8-9 years of age).

Sex change could also be additionally cued by social interactions. Males within the Florida Keys are reported to achieve maturity at approximately 54 cm in size, whereas females off the coast of Cuba reportedly attain maturity at 51 cm. The estimated fecundity for a feminine yellowfin grouper at 51 cm in size is 1,425,443 eggs.

Yellowfin grouper breed yearly, with females releasing eggs at quite a lot of developmental levels and sizes in as much as 7-8 batches when in a spawning aggregation.

Spawning is considered linked to lunar cycles. Breeding season varies by location and usually lasts 3 months. In the Bahamas, the spawning season is January by means of March, starting throughout a full moon and persevering for 12-14 days every month when the water is coldest.

In southern areas, the season adjustments accordingly, e.g. from June to August within the waters off of Sao Paolo, Brazil.

No parental funding has been documented on this species.

Yellowfin Grouper


This species has the power to alter body color when altering habitat. Except for congregating to spawn, groupers are solitary and don’t socialize.

Yellowfin groupers combination at breeding sites. One of the first aggregation sites is the Grammanik Bank, a slim shelf (100 m in size) at a depth of 25 m, situated south of St. Thomas, USVI.


Yellowfin grouper talk reproductive readiness utilizing visible color variation cues and sounds. These fish have lateral line techniques, which understand adjustments in water strain and motion, in addition to olfactory nares that may detect dissolved chemical compounds within the water.

Yellowfin Grouper Food Habits

Yellowfin grouper are pelagic hunters, feeding primarily on macrofauna. Their most popular diet is coral reef fishes; they’re additionally identified to eat crustaceans and squid.

These fish might forage over long distances. They typically use their mouths to burrow into the sand, ready for prey. Their slender bodies and explosive swimming velocity assist within the seize of prey, which they swallow whole.


Yellowfin grouper are massive, top-level predators and so are primarily solely preyed upon as juveniles. They use reefs, wrecks, caves, and different constructions as shelter from potential predators.

As adults, they’re inclined to predation by sharks and people, particularly throughout spawning aggregations.

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