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Snowy Grouper

Hyporthodus niveatus


  • Compressed, oval shaped body
  • Juveniles are dark brown with white spots arranged in rows on the sides and back; Adults are a uniform dark brown color usually with no spots
  • Juveniles have a distinctive black “saddle” shaped spot at the base of the tail that extends to below the lateral line
  • Rear nostril 3-5 times larger than front nostril
  • Clear to dusky colored pectoral and tail fins with no yellow edges
  • Preopercle has a serrated edge; upper edge of the gill cover is notably convex
  • Dorsal fin has 11 spines and 13-15 soft rays; anal fin has 3 spines and 9 soft rays
  • Second dorsal spine not significantly longer than third spine

Similar Species

Warsaw grouper, Hyporthodus nigritus (Second dorsal spine significantly longer than third spine, front and rear nostrils are the same size); Yellowedge grouper, Epinephelus flavolimbatus (yellow edges on fins, front and rear nostrils are the same size)


Up to 4 feet in length and up to 70 pounds in weight


Commonly found over reefs and rocky bottom habitats in waters up to 1700 feet. Juveniles can also be found in shallow, coastal waters.


Ambush predators. Adult groupers eat other fishes, snails, cephalopods (squid, octopus and cuttlefish) and crabs.


Snowy grouper form resident spawning aggregations, or groups, near rocky ledges and steep drop-offs. Spawning occurs from May to June near the Florida Keys. Within the Gulf of Mexico, spawning is believed to occur from January to October.

One female can release more than 2 million eggs in a season.

Additional Information

Additional Information:

Snowy grouper are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they are born female and then transition into males after they reach maturity (usually over 6 years of age).

Recreational Regulations