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Panther Grouper

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The Pather grouper is a medium-sized fish which grows up to 28 in. Its body is compressed laterally and is relatively high. This stocky and strange visual effect is accented by its concave profile and its elongated snout which gives it a humpbacked appearance. The young have a white background with round black spots and are continuously swimming head down. The adults have a body colouration with variances of grey and beige with darker blotches variable in size on the body. Small black spots cover the whole body. Distribution and habitat It is widely distributed throughout the tropical waters of the central Indo-West Pacific region. The Panther grouper lives in clear waters from lagoons and seaward reefs with a preference for dead or silty areas. They are found in a range of depth from 6.6 to 131.2 ft. In 2012, a single individual was speared in the waters off South Florida, raising fears that it could become invasive, similar to the lionfish. The diet of this grouper is based on small fishes and crustaceans. Like the members of its family, the Panther grouper is demersal, solitary (except during mating periods), defends a territory, and is an ambush predator. Its feeding activity is maximal at sunrise and/or at sunset. This species is a protogynous hermaphrodite; in other words, all individuals are born female, with the ability to transform to males as they grow older. Typically, only the most dominant, mature females undergo this transformation in the absence of a dominant male.

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