Epinephelus striatus belong to the Family „Serranidae“ . They are also known as Nassau grouper and occur from New England (USA) to southeastern Brazil, throughout the Bahamas, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Epinephelus striatus is one of the larger reef fish and one that has suffered a dramatic decline during the 20th Century, primarily as a result of overfishing. Nassau grouper (like most other grouper) are considered cryptic, occupying crevices and caves along ledges and reefs as well as shipwrecks. Adults are generally solitary, with the exception of spawning events when hundreds of individuals were known to group together.
Juveniles may sometimes be found in grass beds, inlet areas, and in nearshore habitats; while adult fish are typically observed in rocky reefs offshore to 100 meter depths. The body color of Epinephelus striatus varies from tawny to pinkish red, with five dark vertical bars. The third and fourth bars branch above the lateral line and form a "W". Nassau grouper possesses a black saddle on top of the caudal peduncle, black spots around the eye and a distinctive tuning-fork shaped marking on top of the head. Individuals are capable of altering their colour pattern to resemble that of the surrounding environment or as a means of communication.
Epinephelus striatus , like almost all groupers, are protogynous hermaphrodites, they begin their lives as a "female" and transforme later to "males".
They are regular visitors to cleaning stations where small cleaning wrasse or shrimps will remove parasites from inside the grouper's mouth. Nassau groupers are long-lived, surviving for over 20 years in the wild.
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