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Epinephelus aeneus (Geoffrey St. Hilaire, 1817)

Photo taken at a depth of 53 m by Evangelos Demestichas / MCH

Original drawing in "Guid d'identification des poissons marins Europe et Mediterranee" by Patrick Louisy

These very attractive groupers are found among rocky environments near sandy and muddy areas at depths between 20 m and 200 m, but as juveniles they inhabit shallow waters near the coastline.

     Usually they grow up to about 60 cm, but it is not rare for some old individuals to double that size – 1,2 m of (TL) length – and gain a body weight of about 15 kg.

     The animals become sexually matured after the 5th or 7th year of their life when measuring between 50 cm and 60 cm of length (or even at 10th or 13th year, when the animals are between 80 cm to 1 m of length and with body weights between 6 kg and 15 kg). . They are protogynous hermaphrodites and the most ♀♀ change sex when weight about 9 kg, although they have been observed smaller ♂♂ with a body weight of 3 kg to 5 kg. The fecundity depends on the size of the ♀♀ as it has been observed that ♀♀ smaller than 50 cm (about 2,5 kg) may produce about 800.000 eggs, while larger ♀ individuals (about 90 cm and over 12 kg) may lay over 12.500.000 eggs. Usually in this area matured ♀♀ larger than 90 cm and with a body weight of about 8 kg may lay about 4.000.000 eggs.

     These large predators are territorial and they feed on a wide variety of invertebrate animals and small fishes. Due to their relatively large size, their behavior and alimentary demands they show poor adaptation in tanks, so it is better to avoid these animals as potential aquarium residents, except we are talking for quite massive tanks with specially set up back up utilities that will provide them a wide variety of live foods.

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