Common Name: Dusky grouper
Scientific Names: Epinephelus marginatus
Description: It can grow to 1.5m but the larger fish will only be seen by divers in deeper water. Juveniles in the 15-30cm size range will often be seen in shallow waters. It has a strong triangular head with a jutting lower jaw and large eyes. The body colour is variable with size and mood, but is typically brownish mottled with pale off-white patches. Almost all of them have a pale margin to the tail.
Distinctive Features: The shape of the body and head and the way it swims away but turns back to look at divers, are very distinctive.
Abundance: Solitary. Once you are familiar with the area you should see one or two at every site from very shallow to deeper diving depths.
Habitat & Behaviour: It lives predominantly over rocky reefs often taking up a distinct territory and the same individuals can often be found in the same place on different dives.
Reaction to Snorkellers & Divers: Whether young or old this fish will often hold its ground unless a diver or snorkeller approaches too close when it will swim off, but then often to turn and face the diver after a short distance. This makes them very vulnerable to spear fishermen.
Other Notes: In some books it is referred to as Epinephelus guaza.
These spectacular and important fish are endangered and should be left alone.
Text: Bob Earll
Photo: Russell & Gill Bennett
Video: Bob Earll & Julia Jagoditsc