Size: Up to 8.5 feet long
Habitat/Range: Shallow waters in and around coral reefs of the Indo-Pacific region
IUCN Status: Vulnerable
The Queensland grouper, also known simply as the giant grouper, is the world’s largest bony fish found in coral reefs. It can weigh up to 800 pounds when fully grown. It is a solitary, slow-growing fish that will often hover in mid-water or rest motionless on the bottom. This ambush predator will hide in caves or shipwrecks, lying in wait for unsuspecting prey. A grouper’s eyes function very well in dim light, giving it an advantage over its prey, which can include spiny lobster, small sharks and juvenile sea turtles. It can even rotate its eyes to see approaching prey without moving its head. The juvenile Queensland grouper is black with large white splotches and yellow-orange fins. As it matures, its color changes to a mottled gray-green with black-spotted fins. The species is found throughout the Indo-Pacific, with the widest distribution of any grouper, but its numbers are low and in decline in most areas due to overfishing.