Groupers species identification guide

Groupers, some of the world’s largest bony fish

You’ll find on this page the species related to groupers, which are attached to several subfamilies of Serranidae. These species are included in Epinephelinae (groupers, hinds, seabasses), Serraninae (combers, hamlets) and Grammistinae (soapfish) subfamilies.

The Epinephelinae is the main group of groupers, and number 87 species. They are carnivorous fish, found in all tropical and temperate seas. Groupers can look very different in shape, color, or size.

Yellow-edged lyretail
The yellow-edged lyretail is one of the most beautiful grouper species in the Indo-Pacific. Here, encountered in Abu Dabbab, Egypt.

While some species barely exceed 10cm in length, others reach a much more important size. The giant grouper (Epinephelus lanceolatus), which can measure up to 2.70m, is indeed the largest bony fish in the world.

Which species of groupers am I likely to see while snorkeling?

Groupers are easy to spot when snorkeling in tropical seas. Important food fish, they are especially common in areas where fishing is prohibited, such as marine reserves.

Some groupers are some of the most spectacular fish to be found on coral reefs. The humpback grouper (with its white body with black spots), the yellow-edged lyretail and the blacksaddled coralgrouper (black, white and yellow) are three beautiful species found in the Indo-Pacific.

Dusky grouper in Italy
Juvenile dusky groupers are occasionally seen at snorkeling depths in the Mediterranean. Here, in Cala Rossa, Sicily.

In the Caribbean, the coney and the graysby are both very common. After almost disappearing from European coasts due to overfishing, the dusky grouper is now more common in the Mediterranean. Young specimens are regularly seen by snorkelers along the Spanish, French and Italian coasts.

Caribbean & Western Atlantic groupers and related species

Indian & Pacific Oceans groupers and related species

Eastern Pacific Ocean groupers and related species

Mediterranean & Eastern Atlantic Ocean groupers and related species

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