The Atlantic Goliath Grouper or itajara (Epinephelus itajara), also known as the jewfish, is a large saltwater fish of the grouper family which is found primarily in tropical waters among coral and artificial reefs at depths from 5 to 50 m. It can reach 2.5 meters in length and 360 kg in weight. Cernia gigante atlantica Epinephelus itajara Serranidae intotheblue.it
The Grouper belongs to the family of the Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae and includes numerous species of saltwater fish; they are large fish, which generally live in depth and are appreciated for their prized meats. It is a protogynous hermaphrodite fish that lives for a long time, some estimate even over 50 years, and that becomes male around the age of 12. Therefore all large specimens are male.
We met the young Goliath Grouper in the Caribbean movie during a diving in the coral reef of Cayo Largo, a small island in the Los Canarreos Archipelago. Cernia gigante atlantica intotheblue.it
Many serranid species are brightly colored, and many of the larger species are caught commercially for food. They are usually found over reefs, in tropical to subtropical waters along the coasts. Serranids are generally robust in form, with large mouths and small spines on the gill coverings. They typically have several rows of sharp teeth, usually with a pair of particularly large,canine-like teeth projecting from the lower jaw.
All serranids are carnivorous. Although some species, especially in the Anthiadinae subfamily, only feed on zooplankton, the majority feed on fish and crustaceans. They are typically ambush predators, hiding in cover on the reef and darting out to grab passing prey. Their bright colours are most likely a form of disruptive camouflage, similar to the stripes of a tiger.
Many species are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they start out as females and change sex to male later in life. They produce large quantities of eggs and their larvae are planktonic, generally at the mercy of ocean currents until they are ready to settle into adult populations.
Typically groupers live in their lair, where they feel safe, and go out to get food and check the territory.