Sport Fishing - - FISH FACTS - Mark Barville Kona, Hawaii — Ben Dig­gles

We caught this grouper in deep wa­ter off Kona. What can you tell me about it?

Mark, this fish ap­pears to be a Hawai­ian grouper, Hy­portho­dus

quer­nus. A mem­ber of the fam­ily Ser­ranidae, this species was known for many years as Epinephelus quer­nus un­til re­cent ge­netic stud­ies sug­gested a num­ber of deep-sea grouper species should be sep­a­rated from the shal­lowwa­ter grouper groups. This was done by plac­ing sev­eral deep­wa­ter groupers (in­clud­ing the Hawai­ian) into the res­ur­rected genus Hy­portho­dus.

Hawai­ian grouper have a rather re­stricted dis­tri­bu­tion, recorded only from the Hawai­ian ar­chi­pel­ago and John­ston Is­land. Within this area, ge­netic stud­ies sug­gest this species shows lit­tle ev­i­dence of pop­u­la­tion struc­ture, in­di­cat­ing that eggs and lar­vae are widely dis­trib­uted by ocean cur­rents. The Hawai­ian grouper is a rea­son­ably large and prob­a­bly long-lived species that reaches a lit­tle over 4 feet long and 50 pounds or so. Ju­ve­niles are gray-brown in color, with a pretty mot­tled pat­tern with nu­mer­ous white blotches over the flanks. They oc­cur on the bot­tom over reefs and ledges, in wa­ters as shal­low as 30 feet or so. In con­trast, adults like the one cap­tured here live on the bot­tom, in deep wa­ters, down to more than 1,100 feet. As adult fish ma­ture, they lose the mot­tled col­oration, be­com­ing al­most uni­formly dark brown, with a few faint, scat­tered lighter spots. Like many other groupers, Hawai­ians feed mainly on crus­taceans, such as shrimp and crabs, but also eat smaller fish.

Hawai­ian grouper

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