Animals

Coral Grouper: 15 Facts You Won't Believe!

Coral Grouper Fact File
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One of the most widespread species of fish found in the Indian and the Pacific Oceans, the coral grouper is a beautiful fish. With their orange bodies contrasted with blue spots, these marine creatures, belonging to the family Serranidae, are a sight to behold. Owing to their presence in different parts of Asia, Africa, and Australia, blue-spotted groupers are known by different names such as coral hind, coral cod, and round-tailed trout.

Primarily creatures found in reefs, the Cephalopholis miniata are predators who eat smaller fish like sea goldie (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) and crustaceans. They are also known to coordinate with moray eels in order to catch their prey. Interestingly, this species live in harems with one male fish and 12 female specimens, and are very territorial in nature. Individuals from different harems often fight with one another over territorial disputes.

For more relatable content, check out these stingray facts and ray facts for kids.

Coral Grouper

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Smaller fish and crustaceans

What do they eat?

Carnivore

Average litter size?

From a few thousand to millions

How much do they weigh?

N/A

How long are they?

15-20 in (40-50 cm)

How tall are they?

N/A

What do they look like?

Orangish body with blue spots

Skin Type

Wet scales

What are their main threats?

Destruction and degradation of coral reefs

What is their conservation status?

Least Concern

Where you'll find them

Marine coastal waters and coral reefs

Locations

Indo-Pacific Sea Areas (East African coast, western Pacific coast) and the Red Sea

Kingdom

Animalia

Class

Actinopterygii

Scientific Name

Cephalopholis miniata

Family

Serranidae

Genus

Cephalopholis

Coral Grouper Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a coral grouper?

The coral grouper (Cephalopholis miniata) is a species of fish found in the Indo-Pacific areas. These fishes are known by a host of different names such as the Miniatus grouper, coral hind grouper, blue-spot rockcod, coral rock cod, coral hind, coral trout, round-tailed trout, and coral cod. They are also known as vermillion sea basses. Keep in mind that vermillion sea basses are different from vermillion hind (Cephalopholis oligosticta) which are smaller in length.

What class of animal does a coral grouper belong to?

The coral grouper species (Cephalopholis miniata) belongs to the ray-finned class of marine animals known as Actinopterygii. They are part of the family Serranidae and the order Perciformes. Despite having similar names with fishes like leopard coral grouper, the coral hind belongs to the genus Cephalopholis with its scientific name being Cephalopholis miniata.

How many coral groupers are there in the world?

Occurring across the sea and ocean waters of the Indo-Pacific zone, the coral trout or the coral rock cod has a vast population. Due to the difficulties associated with estimating an exact population of aquatic fish species, there has no concrete number for the total population of this particular fish species. As a result of their widespread existence, the Miniatus grouper is not facing any major threats in its natural habitat.

Where does a coral grouper live?

The coral hind grouper is found inhabiting the coral reefs in coastal regions in the Indo-Pacific zone. This fish species are commonly observed around the coast of islands in the west-central Pacific Ocean and the Indian Ocean, but their presence hasn't been noticed in areas like the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The Red Sea is also a water body where coral rock cod are seen. Apart from the Red Sea, they are distributed as far south as Durban, South Africa, along the eastern African shoreline.

On the Pacific side of things, the coral trout is found near south Japan and along the coast of Australia and other Pacific islands like the Line Islands.

What is a coral grouper's habitat?

For the coral hind grouper, coral reef areas are the primary habitat zones. Often seen preferring open and exposed areas to protected zones, the Cephalopholis miniata species live in the clean waters of the ocean. Inhabiting places like caves and underwater ledges, Miniatus groupers can be found between depths of 6.6-492.1 ft (2-150 m). However, their usual depth is around 56-108 ft (17-33 m).

Who do coral groupers live with?

The coral grouper fish species has an interesting behavior in respect to their social structure. While there is no structure for a family, they have what has been termed as harems. In these harems, a single male coral trout fish can live up to 12 females. Generally covering around 1230 sq km (475 sq mi), the territory is further divided amongst the females of the harem who defend them from each other.

Males are also very territorial with stand-offs and fights breaking out between two males from different harems if one of them has encroached on their territory.

How long does a coral grouper live?

While there are contradicting reports regarding the lifespan of the coral rock cod, the common consensus is that the species can live up to more than 20 years. There are claims that groupers, in general, live anywhere between 9-37 years.

How do they reproduce?

The coral trout fish has an interesting reproduction process. We already know that the coral trout are found in harems with one male fish and up to 12 female fish. During spawning, the males can be found swimming around with four to five females, and breeding between them takes place in the span of a night when gametes are released by the male and the females. For the coral grouper, color change during spawning is an interesting phenomenon. This color change occurs when the individuals darken their body color, with a whitish mark appearing on them that resembles a keyhole.

The shape of coral rock cod eggs is round or spherical and can number from thousands to millions.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of the coral trout fish as per the evaluation done by the International Union For Conservation Of Nature (IUCN) is Least Concern. However, reef damages and overfishing cases like on the Tanzanian coast can be a cause for concern for the population of this species.

Coral Grouper Fun Facts

What do coral groupers look like?

The Miniata grouper or the coral hind is a beautiful fish to look at. The first thing that strikes you about these fish is their body coloration. They are either orangish or reddish-brown with several blue spots all over the head, anal fins, dorsal fins, and caudal fins. There are also indentations on the membranes that cover the nine spines on the dorsal fin. The dorsal fins also have around 15 soft rays. In contrast, the anal fin contains nine soft rays with three spines. Their eyes are small in size and located on the top of their head.

Blue-spotted groupers live in reefs.

How cute are they?

Cephalopholis miniata, or the blue-spotted rockcod, is a stunning fish visually. While they indeed prey on smaller fish and can be very aggressive, many aquarium owners keep this rockcod species as they find them to be beautiful and adorable.

How do they communicate?

Unfortunately, not much is known about the mode of communication for the coral hind. However, there have been reports that the coral hind can communicate with each other through certain displays.

How big is a coral grouper?

A coral hind is a small-to-average-sized fish. Sexual dimorphism is observed in the species with males bigger than females. For example, a large coral grouper male can grow up to 20 in (50 cm) in length, while females do not usually exceed the length of 10 in (25 cm). In comparison, rainbow trouts can be almost more than twice their size in length.

How fast can a coral grouper swim?

The swimming speed of this rockcod fish is not known. However, the male will often travel with a female of the harem by swimming parallel to it.

How much does a coral grouper weigh?

Again, there is no average estimation for the weight of the coral hind. What we do know is that the male fish is heavier than the female.

What are the male and female names of the species?

As usual, there are no different names for a male and female blue-spotted rockcod. They are just called fish.

What would you call a baby coral grouper?

A baby coral hind can be called fry which is the common name for all baby fishes. Juvenile is the term used to define fishes that are not fully mature yet.

What do they eat?

Being carnivores, this rockcod has a diet that is mainly filled with small fish and crustaceans. The small fish in their diet include sea goldies (Pseudanthias squamipinnis), while the crustacean part of the diet is made up of mantis shrimp, crabs, and krills. This rockcod fish often ambush their prey by hiding amongst coral reefs.

Are they dangerous?

While they are predators, the coral hind is not dangerous to humans.

Would they make a good pet?

Opinions vary on whether coral hinds are good pets. Being reef safe, you can keep them in reef tanks, but they will attack and eat smaller fishes. Even if you are planning on keeping them as pets, a large tank with a tank size of 180 gal (818 l) should be used. Also, be very cautious in choosing their tankmates.

Did you know...

The coral trout is often confused with other species like the roving coral grouper and the leopard coral grouper.

Coral hinds can change their sex during their lifetime. However, it is usually the female fish that changes into males. This is why they are classified as protogynous hermaphrodites.

The name 'grouper' has come from the Portuguese word 'garoupa'.

Can you eat coral grouper?

Of course, you can! The coral trout is a delicacy in countries like Australia and Japan, where it is cooked for its firm and moist white flesh that has a sweet taste.

How has a grouper adapted to survive in a coral reef?

Groupers have adapted to reef life with changes in their body shape, allowing them to move faster and changes in coloration that allows them to be camouflaged.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our giant grouper facts and Nassau grouper facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable grouper coloring pages.

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