Species Spotlight: Queensland Grouper

One of the most recognizable animals in Blacktip Reef, the Queensland grouper, has grown exponentially since arriving in our care.

Published October 23, 2018

Queensland groupers are the world’s largest species of reef-dwelling bony fish, growing to nearly 9 feet and weighing around 800 pounds.

Queensland grouper

The Queensland grouper currently in Blacktip Reef, nicknamed Bertha, arrived at the National Aquarium in 2013. At that time, the young Queensland grouper was black with large white splotches and yellow-orange fins. She measured only about 10 inches long (our team estimates she’s about now about 4 feet long)! Bertha can often be spotted slowly swimming by the underwater viewing area in Blacktip Reef.

Queensland groupers are found in the warm waters of the Indo-Pacific and have the widest range of any grouper. They’re known as solitary animals, often inhabiting shallow waters and hiding in caves or shipwrecks.

The fish is an ambush predator, feeding on sharks, rays, sea turtles, smaller fish, crabs and even spiny lobsters. They typically swallow their meals whole.

Queensland groupers are also protogynous hermaphrodites! They start their lives as females and will later change sex once they hit sexual maturity.

Stay tuned for more spotlights on species at the National Aquarium!

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