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Black Grouper

Mycteroperca bonaci


Illustration of a black grouper
  • Color olive or gray with rectangular black blotches and brassy spots
  • Bottom of preopercle (cheek) is gently-rounded
  • Second dorsal, anal and caudal fins black on outer third part of fin
  • Pale yellow or white margin on pectoral fins

Similar Species: Gag, M. microlepis (spur on preopercle is serrated); and yellowfin grouper, M. venenosa (pectoral fins trimmed in bright yellow)

Size: Up to 48 inches (180 pounds); common to 40 pounds


Coastal waters near structure. Juveniles can be found inshore. Adults are associated with rocky bottoms, reef, and drop off walls in water over 60 feet deep. 


Spawn during the winter months.

They are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that young predominantly female who transform into males as they grow larger. 

Larger individuals of this species are generally found in greater depths and they feed on fish and squid.

Additional Information

State Record: 113 lb 6 oz, caught near the Dry Tortugas

Fishing Tips and Facts: Grouper fishing from a boat typically involves baits fished near the bottom, with heavy tackle and heavier to bring grouper to the surface. Live fish or dead cut or whole bait are used. Grouper are very tasty meals.

Recreational Regulations


Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles