Queensland Groper, Epinephelus lanceolatus (Bloch 1790)


Other Names: Bumblebee Grouper, Giant Grouper, Groper, Grouper, Queensland Grouper

A Queensland Groper, Epinephelus lanceolatus, at Main Beach South Stradbroke Island, Queensland, August 2017. Source: Deb Aston / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Summary:


Adults are a mottled greyish-brown with yellowish or darker fins. Small juveniles are yellow with irregular broad dark bars on the body, and irregular dark spots on the fins.

This huge robust grouper is the largest bony reef-dwelling fish in the world. Prior to its listing as a protected species in the early 1980s, the Queensland Groper was much sought after by line and spearfishers in New South Wales.

Video of a large Queensland Grouper at the Gold Coast Seaway - by Ian Banks

Video of Queensland Grouper


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Epinephelus lanceolatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 08 Mar 2021, http://136.154.202.208/home/species/4672

Queensland Groper, Epinephelus lanceolatus (Bloch 1790)

More Info


Distribution

Rottnest Island through north-western Australia, including Rowley Shoals and Scott Reef, to Sydney, New South Wales including reefs in the Coral Sea; also Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean, and the Lord Howe Island Province in the Tasman Sea. The species has also been reported from Younghusband Peninsula, South Australia. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.

This solitary species inhabits shallow inshore waters, including rocky areas, caves and wrecks, harbours, estuaries, lagoons and seaward reefs. Large individuals often hover in mid-water, or lie motionless on the bottom.

Features

Dorsal fin XI,14-16; Anal fin III, 8; Gill rakers (first arch) 8-10 + 14-17; Lateral-line scales 54-62, anterior scales with branched tubules (except small juveniles). 
Body robust, body depth 2.3-3.4 in SL (specimens 12-179 cm SL); body width 1.5-1.75 in body depth; head length 2.2-2.7 in SL; eye diameter 5.8-14 in HL; interorbital width 3.3 (at 177 cm SL) to 6.2 (at 12 cm SL) in HL; preopercle finely serrate, the corner rounded; upper edge of operculum convex. Midlateral part of lower jaw with 2-3 rows of teeth (at 20-25 cm SL) increasing to 15-16 rows in specimen of 177 cm SL; canine teeth at front of jaws small or absent. Dorsal fin third to eleventh spines subequal, shorter than longest soft rays; short pelvic fins, 23.0-2.7 in head length; caudal fin rounded.

Colour

Small juveniles (less than 15 cm SL) are yellow, with 3 irregular black areas, the first from the spinous dorsal fin to the belly and chest, and extending onto the head; the second from the soft dorsal-fin base to the anal fin; the third at the caudal-fin base.
Subadults (25-60 cm SL) with irregular white or yellow spots on the black areas, and black spots on the fins.
Adults (90-165 cm SL) dark brown with faint mottling, and numerous small black spots on the fins.
Large adults 180-250 cm SL) are greyish-brown to dark brown with darker fins.

Feeding

Feeds on lobsters, crabs, fishes including small sharks and rays, and juvenile sea turtles.

Biology

May form spawning aggregations.

Fisheries

Although common in the live fish trade in Asia, the species is considered to be under threat from fishing pressure in most parts of its range. Fortunately, fish reared in aquaculture operations are increasingly being sold in the live fish trade.

Conservation

Listed as a Protected Species under the Fisheries Management Act 1994 in New South Wales, where it is at the southern limit of its distribution in Australia. The species is also partly or fully protected in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland. It was listed as Data Deficient by the IUCN in 2018.

Remarks

There have been unconfirmed reports of fatal attacks on humans, and the flesh of large individuals may contain ciguatera.

Etymology

The specific name is from the Latin lanceolatus (= lancet-shaped).

Species Citation

Holocentrus lanceolatus Bloch, 1790, Naturg. ausländ. Fische: 4: 92, pl. 262(1). Type locality: Ostindien [= East Indies, Indonesia]

Author

Bray, D.J. 2021

Resources

Atlas of Living Australia

Queensland Groper, Epinephelus lanceolatus (Bloch 1790)

References


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Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37311061

Biology:Hermaphrodite

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Danger:Potentially dangerous

Depth:1-100 m

Fishing:Commercial, recreational fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:270 cm TL; 400 kg

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map