Identifying Red Grouper:
The Florida Red Grouper is brownish-red in color with black dots around its eyes. The lining of the mouth is a reddish-orange. The sides of its body will have lighter, white-ish, blotches. They have a spiny dorsal fin. The second spine is the longest. There is also a whiter color at the mid fin where the spines on the dorsal become softer. Pelvic fins on this species are shorter than the pectoral fins. The tail is more squared in shape.
Red Grouper, in the Gulf of Mexico, are found in hard bottom areas. Juveniles, up to 6 years old, can be found in nearshore reefs in 10 to 40 feet of water. Mature fish, over 6 years old, move offshore into deeper waters, up to 1,000 feet in depth. Red Grouper prefer water temperatures ranging from the mid-60's to the upper-70's. They make dens in holes found in rocky limestone formations.
Red Grouper Fun Facts:
- They are are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they can change their sex, starting off as females.
- They like to dig holes. Burrowing in the seafloor helps create new structure and assists biodiversity by attracting other organisms.
- These fish are slow to mature and live over 25 years.
- Spawning season peaks in May.
- Their diet includes shrimp, crab, squid, and other fish.
- When agitated or threatened they will change its color and become pale.
- The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) record is 42lbs, 4oz.