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The Misty Grouper fish identification, habitats, characteristics, Fishing methods

Misty grouper, Epinephelus mystacinus, also known as Mystic Grouper, Mustache Grouper, cherna del alto, is a solitary, deep-water species of family Serranidae. Distribution: Bermuda, North Carolina to Florida, Gulf of Mexico, the West Indies to Trinidad; probably northern coast of South America. Maximum size is at least 115 cm; and over 54 kg, Common at 15-50 pounds.

The Misty Grouper Fishing Misty grouper, Epinephelus mystacinus, also known as Mystic Grouper, Mustache Grouper, cherna del alto, is a solitary, deep-water species, widely distributed in Western Atlantic: Bermuda, North Carolina (USA), Florida (USA), Gulf of Mexico, Bahamas, Cuba, Yucatan (Mexico), Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and the Leeward islands to Trinidad. Eastern Pacific: Galapagos Islands.

Body robust, compressed, depth contained 2.4 to 2.9 times, head length 2.3 to 2.5 times; end of top jaw exposed; large eyes with diameter greater than interorbital width for smaller fish, but less than interorbital in larger fish (larger than 40 cm). Posterior nostrils greatly enlarged and have diameter 4 or more times that of anterior nostrils. Rear margin of caudal fin convex or truncate with rounded corners. Pelvic fins shorter than pectorals and inserted under pectoral-fin base. Body scales distinctly ctenoid (rough), without auxiliary scales (minute scales atttached to base of main body scales); preoperculum without spines. Lateral line completed, ending at tail base, smoothly arched. Dorsal fin's 3rd spine longest and fin membrane distinctly incised between spines.

  • Dorsal fin has 11 spines and 14 or 15 soft rays.
  • 3rd dorsal fin is the longest.
  • Anal fin has 3 spines and 8 to 9 soft rays.
  • Pectoral fins have 18 0r 19 rays.
  • Operculum edge has 3 flat spines.
  • Lateral-line scales 8 to 69.
  • Lateral scale series 99 to 112.
  • Maximum total length is 115 cm.
  • Maximum weight at least 54 kg.
  • Gill rakers on first arch are 22 to 25.
    (8 or 9 on upper limb, 14 to 16 on lower limb).
  • The Fish Diagram

        Color: head and body buff, with 8 or 9 dark, subvertical bars on body, the first on nape, and the last 2 (which are darker than other bars) may be fused to form a wide dark band around caudal peduncle. Prominent blackish brown moustache is mark on cheeks at upper edge of maxilla. Misty grouper is the only grouper in the Caribbean with a pattern of regular dark bars. Chocolate brown with pale spots and 9-10 dark bars on head and body, those on body extending onto dorsal and anal fins, last one on tail base widest and darkest; 3 oblique dark stripes on side of head -1 along top of upper jaw and on cheek, 2 behind eye and on operculum.

    A deep-water species reported from depths of 100 to 500 m; juveniles sometimes found in water as shallow as 30 m. Generalized carnivore feeding on fishes, crustaceans, and squid.

    Fishing Methods. They considered as an excellent food value but seldom caught on sporting gear. Mostly they caught using drifting fishing method with cut bait.

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