Black Grouper

Black Grouper

mycteroperca bonaci


All black groupers are born female.

Exhibit Name and Location:
Baltimore - Surviving through Adaptation

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Black Grouper

Black grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci) are typically dark in color, with olive, gray, or brown bodies, with irregular blotches and spots that are often bronze in color. These groupers have several sets of teeth that are used when feeding to prevent fish from escaping. All of the black grouper are born female, but some will transform into males when they are large enough.

Mainly in rocky and coral reef environments, black grouper can live more than 30 years, though most are caught before they reach this age.


Adult black groupers feed on fish, while juveniles eat primarily crustaceans.


Black grouper can grow to more than 4 feet and have been known to weigh more than 170 pounds, though the fish is often caught before it reaches maximum size.


The range of the black grouper stretches all along the western Atlantic Ocean from Massachusetts to Brazil.

Population Status

Black grouper are considered near-threatened.


The larger black groupers are preyed upon by sharks, including the sandbar shark and the great hammerhead. Black grouper that are smaller in size are preyed upon by other groupers and moray eels. Considered delicious eating, black grouper are also caught by humans.

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A Note From the Caretaker

Our black grouper has what looks like a loose tooth that is just a flap of skin that hangs down in its mouth. This grouper has a lot of personality and will follow me around when I clean the window in the morning.