Many groupers reach maturity as females, but switch to the male sex later in life.
Coloration is dull brown with irregular, darker bands running vertically down the sides
Body is elongated, thick, and large
Snout is rounded
Eyes are small
Tail is short and fan-like
The goliath grouper is appropriately named, reaching up to 8 feet (5.5meters) in length and weighing more than 1,000 pounds (454 kilograms). At this size, it is the largest grouper in the western hemisphere.
The age of a goliath grouper can be estimated by using the annual growth rings in its dorsal fin rays, much like those found within tree trunks, and while the oldest known grouper lived to 37 years, researchers estimate these fish can live 50-100 years. Many groupers are protogynous hermaphrodites, which simply means they reach sexual maturity first as females but switch to the male sex after a few breeding seasons, but it is still unknown if this is the case with the Atlantic goliath grouper.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the Atlantic goliath grouper population as Vulnerable as it is heavily targeted by fishers throughout its range, which has historically resulted in population decline. Vulnerable populations are those that are considered to be at high risk of human-induced exploitation without human intervention.
59 inches (150 centimeters)
Crustaceans, turtles, and fishes
Florida, USA to southern Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean