When people talk about coral reefs, fishermen tend to shrug their shoulders and complain about snagged lines and torn nets. But when you talk about groupers, they suddenly sit up and pay attention. Groupers are among the economically most important fishes of the coral reef, because of their popularity as food. Yet without the coral reef there would probably be no groupers. For this reason, groupers are an extremely important indicator species and your record of their existence or non-existence during your dive tells us a lot.

The goliath grouper (Epinephelus itajara), sometimes called the jewfish is classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List. Found in shallow, inshore waters to depths of 45m, this indicator prefers areas of rock, coral, and mud bottoms. It is also solitary and territorial and feeds on crustaceans. The largest member of the Sea Bass family in the Atlantic Ocean, it can reach lengths of 2.5m, and weigh up to 450kg. There is anecdotal evidence of Goliaths stalking and attempting to eat divers!

Like all indicators, it is valuable if you can record the particular species you sight. However, recording the total number of groupers is just as important. The species that we would most like you to record are listed below for the indo-Pacific, tropical eco-region:

  • Areolate Grouper Epinephelus areolatus
  • Blacktip Grouper Epinephelus fasciatus
  • Barred-Chest Grouper Epinephelus faveatus
  • Blacksaddled Coral grouper Plectropomus laevis
  • Blue and Yellow Grouper Epinephelus flavocaeruleus
  • Brownspotted Grouper Epinephelus chlorostigma
  • Camouflage Grouper Epinephelus polyphekadion
  • Cloudy Grouper Epinephelus erythrurus
  • Coral Hind Grouper Cephalopholis miniata
  • Darkfin Hind Grouper Cephalopholis urodeta
  • Foursaddle Grouper Epinephelus spilotoceps
  • Giant Grouper Epinephelus lanceolatus
  • Greasy Grouper Epinephelus tauvina
  • Highfin Grouper Epinephelus maculatus
  • Highfin Coral Grouper Plectropomus oligacanthus
  • Honeycomb Grouper Epinephelus merra
  • Leopard Coral Grouper Plectropomus leopardus
  • Longspine Grouper Epinephelus longispinis
  • Malabar Grouper Epinephelus malabaricus
  • Marbled Coral Grouper Plectropomus punctatus
  • Masked Grouper Gracila albomarginata
  • Netfin Grouper Epinephelus miliaris
  • Orange-Spotted Grouper Epinephelus coioides
  • Oval Grouper Triso dermopterus
  • Redmouth Grouper Aethaloperca rogaa
  • Red-Tipped Grouper Epinephelus retouti
  • Peacock Hind Grouper Cephalopholis argus
  • Potato Grouper Epinephelus tukula
  • Sixblotch Hind Grouper Cephalopholis sexmaculata
  • Slender Grouper Anyperodon leucogrammicus
  • Snubnose Grouper Epinephelus macrospilos
  • Spotted Coral Grouper Plectropomus maculatus
  • Squaretail Coral Grouper Plectropomus areolatus
  • Strawberry Hind Grouper Cephalopholis spiloparaea
  • Striped Grouper Epinephelus latifasciatus
  • Tomato Hind Grouper Cephalopholis sonnerati
  • Wavy-Lined Grouper Epinephelus undulosus
  • White-Edged Lyretail Grouper Variola albimarginata
  • Whitespotted Grouper Epinephelus coeruleopunctatus
  • White-Streaked Grouper Epinephelus ongus
  • Yellow-Edged Grouper Variola louti