Description: Olive or gray body coloration with black blotches and brassy spots; gently rounded preopercle.
Similar Fish: Gag, M. microlepis; yellowfin grouper, M. venenosa.
Where Found: Offshore species; adults associated with rocky bottoms, reefs, and dropoff walls in water over 60 feet deep; young may occur inshore in shallow water.
Size: Common to 40 pounds, may attain weights exceeding 100 pounds; no Florida record because of identity confusion with gag, which are mistakenly called “black grouper”.
Remarks: Spawns between May and August; protogynous hermaphrodites, young predominately female, transforming into males as they grow larger; larger individuals generally in greater depths; feeds on fish and squid.
Illustration: © Diane Rome Peebles