The Red Grouper fish identification, habitats, characteristics, Fishing methods
Red groupers are members of the seabass family, Serranidae, and are found in tropical and warm temperate waters worldwide. It has firm texture, white meat with large flake and a mild flavor. The genus name, Epinephelus, is derived from the Greek "epinephelos" meaning cloudy. Red Grouper is one of the groupers harvested in volume and most readily available in seafood markets. The large, white-flaked flesh contains no intramuscular bones. The extra lean white meat is firm and moist with large flake and a sweet, mild flavor.
Red grouper, Epinephelus morio, also known as Brown Grouper, Hamlet, and Deer grouper in USA, Cherna Americana, Cherna de Vivero or Mero Americano in Mexico, as Mero Paracamo in Venezuela, is deep water, reef associated fish, widely distributed in Bermuda, from North Carolina to southern Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. The species is most abundant along Florida's east and west coasts, and throughout the Gulf of Mexico, juveniles slightly occur north to Massachusetts.
The red grouper is a robust fish of moderate size. Body depth is 2.6 to 3.0 times less than head length. They have several sets of strong, slender teeth that act as raspers to prevent small fish from escaping. It has large eyes and differs in size, with the anterior pair slightly smaller then the posterior pair. Red grouper have ctenoid (rough) scales and thick skin located at the base of the soft dorsal and anal fins. The caudal fin is truncate or slightly concave in larger fish or convex in smaller, less than 15 cm, fish and the caudal peduncle lacks a saddle. Preopercle is subangular, the serrae at angle slightly enlarged; upper edge of operculum straight.
They can be distinguished by the large size of its dorsal fin with a long 2nd spine, giving the fin a triangular sail-like aspect and the absence of a notch on the interspinous membrane. Most other groupers have a notched dorsal spine membrane and a 3rd spine longer than the 2nd. The pelvic fins are inserted posterior to the pectoral fins on the body, that distinguish them from Warsaw grouper, the yellow-edged grouper, and the misty grouper, whose pectoral fins are inserted posterior to the pelvic fins. Another difference from other groupers is that red grouper has pectoral fins longer than the pelvic fins. Nostrils subequal.
Dorsal fin has 11 spines and 16 or 17 soft rays.
2nd dorsal fin is the longest.
Anal fin has 3 spines and 8 to 10 soft rays.
Pectoral fins have 16 to 18 rays.
Lateral scale series 112 to 128.
Lateral-line scales 60.
Maximum total length is 4 feet (125 cm).
Maximum weight at least 51 lbs (23.0 kg).
Gill rakers on first arch are 23 to 25.
(8 or 9 on upper limb, 15 or 16 on lower limb).
Red grouper are easily recognized by their color. The body and head are dark brownish-red overall, shading to pink or reddish color below on the lateral sides and ventral side, with irregular white spots and/or large pale blotches on the sides. Tiny black dark dots are present on the cheeks, snout, and operculum and around the eyes. Inside of mouth there is bright reddish orange. Soft dorsal, caudal, and anal fins have dark margins, with narrow white edges.
The red grouper are most closely related to the Nassau grouper, which has several vertical bars and blotches. They more resemble the Nassau grouper when the red grouper are resting and their coloration becomes more banded in appearance.
The red groupers are non-migratory fish and associated primarily with muddy and rocky bottom habitats at depths of 16-1,000 feet (5-330 m). They are often seen resting on the bottom substrate. Adults inhabit ledges, crevices, and caverns of rocky limestone reefs, and also lower-provile, live-bottom areas in waters 10 to 40 feet deep. Juvenile reside in sea-grass beds in shallower waters, and inshore in crevices and under ledges on rocky reefs in 5 to 25 m, until they reach larger sizes when they move out to rocky bottom and reef habitats. At 40 to 50 cm length (4 to 6 years of age), become mature females and begin to migrate to deeper water (50 to 300 m) where they also occur over sandy or mud bottoms.
Prey items of the red grouper include various marine invertebrates such as crabs, shrimp and octopi as well as fish such as snappers and parrotfish. Adults feed on a wide variety of fishes and invertebrates. The maximum age of the red grouper is 25-30 years; they are reaching a size of 32.5 inches and 25 pounds. Red groupers usually ambush their prey and swallow it whole, preffering crabs, shrimp, lobster, actopus, squid and fish that live closse to reefs.
The Red Grouper is a protogynous hermaphrodite with all fish beginning life as females. The Females become mature at 4-6 years of age (40 to 50 cm length) while males are considered reproductively significant at 10 years of age and older. Most females transform to males between ages 7 and 14, and maximum age is at least 25 years. They prefer water temperatures between 66 and 77 degrees F. Spawning occurs during January through April and up to July in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea with the peek in April and May. Females begin to migrate to deeper water (50 to 300 m) where they release their sperm and eggs over sandy or mud bottoms in offshore water.
Females usually release an average of 1.5 million (but could be up to 5.5 millions depending on size) pelagic eggs. The eggs hatch into larvae approximately 30 hours after spawning and live as part of the zooplankton with the ocean currents. The larvae settle out of the zooplankton to the bottom substrate at about 35-50 days after hatching, correlating to a length of 20-25 mm, the pelagic postlarvae transform to the benthic juvenile stage. Juveniles of 3 to 20 cm length are seldom found on shallow grass beds and inshore reefs. An early juveniles feed primarily upon demersal crustaceans living in seagrass beds. Larger fishes feed heavily upon juvenile red groupers. As the juveniles mature, they move out to deeper rocky bottoms and feed upon smaller fishes as well as a variety of invertebrates. As the Red Groupers increase in size, their diet changes to increasing of fish portion.
The Red Grouper is the most important of the commercial reef fishes caught off the coast of Florida. This grouper is fished commercially as well as well as recreationally. The species is caught with hook-and-line, bottom set longlines, traps, and trawls.
Red grouper are excellent quality food fish, which lends itself well to any form of cooking. The white, flaky fillets may be baked, broiled, basted over charcoal, or prepared in fish chowder. The bones are large and easily discarded. Because it is a lean fish, some basting is necessary while broiling or baking to keep the flesh moist. The heads are cartilaginous and produce a rich stock base. Poaching, steaming, baking, broiling, sautéing, microwaving are excellent low-fat cooking methods, if you do not add high fat ingredients. The general rule is 10 minutes per inch of thickness, at the thickest part of the fillet or steak, at 400-450 degrees F.
The large, white-flaked flesh contains no intramuscular bones. The skin is tough and strongly flavored and should be removed during cleaning. The extra lean white meat is firm and moist with large flake and a sweet, mild flavor. Nutritional Value Per Serving: For approximately 4 ounces (114 grams) of raw, edible portions: Calories 110, Calories From Fat 20, Total Fat 2g, Saturated Fat 0g, Trans Fatty Acid 0, Cholesterol 55mg, Sodium 65mg, Total Carbohydrates 0g, Protein 23g, Omega 3 Fatty Acid 0.26g.
Grilled Grouper with sauteed mushrooms
Prepare sautéed mushrooms: In skillet slice 1 qt. fresh mushrooms, add 1/4 cup water, 1/2 stick butter; cook on low heat until tender. Melt 1/2 stick butter in pan and stir in 1/2 c. lemon juice and 1 tsp. paprika. Over medium fire, place 4 Grouper fillets (approx. 1 lb.) on grill. Cook 7 minutes on each side, or until light and flaky. Brush continuously with barbecue sauce with butter, lemon juice, mix. Top sauteed mushrooms over fish and serve with salad.
Check more great easy Grouper Recepies.