Goldblotch grouper - Epinephelus costae
We are in Sardinia in the marine reserve of Capo Carbonara where in a few meters we met the Golden Grouper. Cernia Dorata Dotto Epinephelus costae Goldblotch grouper intotheblue.it
During an apnea dive she approached along with other fish such as sea bream, salpa sarpa, and sand seenbras intrigued by our presence. However it has always remained at a certain distance and once satisfied its curiosity has hidden itself in a hole.
It is an extremely wary species towards humans, therefore difficult to approach and photograph. This distrust and the fact that it is a rather rare species put this species as vulnerableiIn the ranking of the IUCN, the World Union for the Conservation of Nature,this because, as for the other species of Grouper, fishing is the main threat, in particular trawling and underwater as well as the destruction of habitat.
Distribution and habitat It is a southernmost species of the most common and well-known brown grouper, in fact in the Atlantic it is not found further north than the gulf of Cadiz while to the south it reaches South Africa. In Italian waters it is more common along the coasts of the southern regions. It lives on mixed funds of sand and rock with prevalence of the latter.
Description It has a more elongated shape and a lower jaw that is more prominent than the brown grouper but it is recognized above all for the coloring, which however goes through various phases:
- normal livery: golden yellow spot behind the gill operculum, four parallel horizontal dark lines on the back, on a beige background;
- young: there are more than four lines on the sides, no golden spot on the side;
- adult male: golden stain clearly visible and extended lower half of the whitish body surmounted by a very dark irregular band.
The dimensions reach 80 cm per 8 kg of weight.
Supply Identical to that of the brown grouper.
Biology It is more gregarious than the other groupers and can live in small herds. Young people are sometimes extraordinarily friendly and show no fear of divers while adults are very suspicious.