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Species: Epinephelus itajara, Atlantic Goliath Grouper, Itajara Grouper

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

head & body thick
eye small
grey + pale blotches, + small dark spots
D spines shorter than rays
C: rounded

Epinephelus itajara (Lichtenstein, 1822)

Atlantic Goliath Grouper, Itajara Grouper

Body robust and oblong, deepest at origin of dorsal fin, wide and flat between eyes; eyes small; rear of top jaw exposed when mouth closed, without bony knob at lower rear corner; teeth depressible; sides of roof of mouth with teeth; front nostril ~equal to rear nostril operculum edge with 3 flat spines; preoperculum bluntly angular, finely serrated; 21-24 gill rakers; dorsal fin XI, 15-16, the spines shorter than the rays, membranes between spines indented, length of base of soft part not longer than that of spiny part; anal fin III, 8; pectoral fin symmetrically rounded, 19; origin of pelvic under or behind pectoral base, shorter than pectoral; tail rounded; body scales rough, 61-64 on lateral line.

Large fish: grey or greenish with pale blotches and smaller dark brown or blackish spots scattered over upper parts of head, body, and on pectoral fins. Small fish (< 100 cm) greenish to tawny brown with oblique, irregular darker brown bars.

Size; The largest bony fish in the region, maximum size is 250 cm, and at least 363 kg; lives at least 37y; sexual maturity at 110 cm in males and 120 cm in females.

Habitat: rocky reefs as well as bays; juveniles in estuaries and mangrove areas.

Depth: 1-100 m.

Western and eastern Atlantic; Georgia to Brazil.

Note : Its sister species from the eastern Pacific is Epinephelus quinquefasciatus.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Estuary
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Sea snakes/mammals/turtles/birds
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Vulnerable
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 250
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 100