Shallow tropical waters and reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific
Size: Up to 9 feet
Weight: Up to 800 lbs.
Lifespan: 5-15 years
Fish, small sharks, lobster, crustaceans
The Queensland grouper, also known simply as the giant grouper, is the world’s largest bony fish found in coral reefs, weighing up to 800 pounds when fully grown. It is a solitary, slow-growing fish that often hovers mid-water or rests motionless on the bottom. This ambush predator will hide in caves or shipwrecks, waiting for unsuspecting prey. A grouper’s eyes function very well in dim light, giving it an advantage over its prey, including spiny lobsters, 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. Its color changes to a mottled gray-green with black-spotted fins as it matures. The species is found throughout the Indo-Pacific, with the broadest distribution of any grouper, but its numbers are low and in decline in most areas due to overfishing.