The Yellowmouth Grouper fish identification, habitats, characteristics, Fishing methods
Yellowmouth grouper is reef-associated and found mainly on rocky or coral bottoms from the shoreline to at least 55 m depth. Small and medium-sized individuals commonly occur in mangrove-lined lagoons. More common in island waters than along the coast. It is targeted by fisheries in some areas, but its rarity prevents it from becoming a major target species. In areas where fisheries are developed, rapid population declines have been noted.
Yellowmouth grouper, Mycteroperca interstitialis, also known as Crossband Rockfish, Grey Mannock, Hamlet, Harlequin Rockfish, Princess Rockfish, Rockfish, Salmon Grouper, Salmon Rock Fish, Scamp, Cuna Chulinga or Cuna Amarilla, or Cuna Raba Rajao in Venezuela and Abadejo in Cuba, is a marine deep water fish, is distributed in the western Atlantic from Florida and Bermuda to southern Brazil, the southern Gulf of Mexico, South Florida Keys, West Indies, Venezuela, Bahamas, Cuba and throughout the Caribbean.
Body depth less than head length, 3.0 to 3.4 times in length (for fish 22 to 65 cm). Preopercle with prominent lobe bearing enlarged serrae at angle. Tan to brown above, paler below; upper parts of head and most of body usually have small, brown, close-set spots; sometimes uniformly brown. Adults have exerted rays that are even and about equal in length. Posterior fin margin pointed in adults, with elongated 9th, 10th and 11th rays. Anal fin margin pointed in adults, with elongated 6th, 7th and 8th rays. Caudal fin emarginated in adults, with exserted rays. Lateral body scales ctenoid.
Dorsal fin has 11 spines and 16 to 18 soft rays.
Anal fin has 3 spines and 11 to 12 soft rays.
Pectoral fins have 16 to 17 rays.
Lateral-line scales 70 to 74.
Lateral scale series 112 to 119.
Maximum total length is 235 cm
Maximum weight up to 200 kg.
The rear margin of tail convex or truncate with rounded corners.
Gill rakers on first arch are 23 to 27.
(4 to 6 on upper limb, 11 to 15 on lower limb) plus 3 to 5 rudiments on each limb.
The Yellowmouth grouper has pale brownish grey color, with close-set small brown spots on dorsal part of head and body; spinous dorsal-fin margin and mouth yellowish; pectoral-fin membrane clear, rays dark, edge of fin white; dark moustache streak above maxilla. Some fish uniform brown dorsally, and others may have faint, irregular vertical bars. Juveniles are bicolored with head and body are dark brown dorsally (dark dorsal color may be broken into broad dark bars or saddle blotches) and abruptly white below; black spot at base of upper caudal-fin rays.
Yellowmouth grouper is very similar to Scamp; adults of both species have a projecting lobe at corner of preopercle, similar color pattern, similar numbers of fin rays, enlarged posterior nostrils, and exserted median fin rays. Yellowmouth grouper has yellow inside and on the corners of the mouth. Species of 20 to 57 cm standard length usually has shorter pelvic fins and a shorter head. Yellowmouth grouper lacks dark spots on the dorsal and anal fins, and the exserted caudal-fin rays are of similar length; whereas Scamp has small brown spots on these fins and the exserted caudal rays are more uneven. Juveniles of Yellowmouth grouper are distinctly bicolored, but juveniles of Scamp are colored much like adults.
Usually found on coral reefs and rocky bottoms from the shoreline in depth 20 to 150 m., occasionally on shallow patches, but more on deeper reefs to 120 feet or so near the edge of blue water. Small and middle-sized individuals commonly occur in mangrove-lined lagoons. More common in island waters than along the coast. Feeds mainly on fishes.
The tricolored pattern of the juveniles mimics that of the juveniles of the clown wrasse. The aggressive mimic’s behavior includes folding down the median and caudal fins, which adds to its wrasse imitation and allows it to approach its otherwise wary prey.
Spawning occurs on the Florida Middle Grounds in December, March to July, and September; and in Jamaica in April. Undergoes sex reversal, young individuals female, older individuals becoming male; young fish are bicolored, dark above white below; feeds on small fsh and crustaceans.
The Yellowmouth grouper is considered as an excellent food value. They could be caught with traps, hook-and-line, and spears using following fishing methods: Drifting; Still Fishing; Trolling. This fish is a tough fighter on tackle of small size. Yellowmouth grouper is important in grouper fisheries of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.
The white-flaked flesh contains no intramuscular bones. The extra lean white meat is firm and moist with large flake and a sweet, mild flavor.
Grilled Margarita Grouper
Combine 1/3 cup Bianco, Silver or Anejo tequila, 1/2 cup of triple sec, 3/4 cup of fresh lime juice, 1 tsp of salt, and 2 tsp of vegetable oil. Place 1 1/2 lbs grouper fillets in a single layer in a flat dish. Pour tequila mixture over, and marinate for 1/2 hour at room temperature, or 2-3 hours in the refrigerator. Just before serving, combine 3 medium diced tomatoes, 1 medium finely chopped onion, 1 tbsp minced jalapeño or serrano chile, 2-4 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, 1 pinch of sugar, and salt to taste to make fresh tomato salsa. Remove fish from marinade (reserve it for later), and pat dry. Brush fish on both sides with oil, and grind pepper over it. Cook on greased grill over high heat until flesh is opaque (approx. 4 minutes per side). Boil sauce in a saucepan for about 2 minutes, remove and discard the garlic cloves, and spoon over fish. Serve alongside fresh tomato salsa.
Check more great easy Grouper Recepies.