The Queensland Grouper is an incredible fish – it’s the largest fish found on coral reefs and is also the aquatic emblem of Queensland. The Queensland grouper has sadly suffered from overfishing in Australian waters and is now a protected species. Here are some fantastic fishy facts about this incredible creature. Let us help you discover Queensland Grouper Facts for Kids.
Fun Queensland Grouper facts for kids
- The Queensland Grouper is also known as the Brown Spotted Cod, Brindlebass, Bumblebee Grouper, and Giant Grouper (not to be confused with Goliath Grouper).
- The Queensland Groper is one of the largest bony fishes and is the largest on coral reefs.
- The Queensland Groper has a large mouth and a rounded caudal fin and is a type of ray-finned fish.
- Adults are mottled greyish-brown with yellowish or darker fins. Small juveniles are yellow with irregular broad dark bars on the body and uneven dark spots on the fins.
- The giant grouper can grow to a considerable size, with the maximum recorded standard length being 270 centimetres. However, they are more common around 180 centimetres and have a maximum published weight of 400 kilograms.
- It is the most widely distributed species of grouper in the world.
- It occurs in tropical waters throughout the Indo-Pacific and is recorded occasionally in temperate waters.
- You can find this species throughout the Indo-Pacific region (excluding the Persian Gulf), from South Africa to the Hawaiian Islands. Anglers and scientists have recorded Queensland Groper in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, and China.
- In Australia, it is known from the southern coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country and south to the southern coast of New South Wales.
- These fish have enormous mouths which allow them to swallow prey whole. They open their mouths wide and suck in their prey.
- Queensland groupers have quite an appetite and are opportunistic ambush predators. Their size means that they are not particularly active and do not actively chase prey down but sit and wait for an unlucky animal to venture a bit too close to where they are lying in wait.
- Crayfish have been reported as a favourite item of prey.
- They are known to eat anything they can catch, including other large fish and small sharks, as well as other crustaceans and turtles if they swim too close.
- The Queensland grouper is a species of shallow water found at depths of 1 to 100 metres.
- Juvenile Queensland Gropers inhabit estuary systems and shallow inshore reefs. Once they become adults, they move to deeper water and inhabit reefs in water 5-50m deep.
- These large fish are pretty curious and bold and will approach divers closely. They are not generally considered dangerous to humans; however, their large size and appetite to match should be considered cautiously.
- These fish change from male to female throughout their life cycle.
- What makes this fish an interesting Australian animal is knowing that the Queensland Grouper can live up to 100 years.
- This species usually is solitary.
- They are often found either hovering in midwater or resting motionless on the ocean floor.
- Queensland Groupers are also found in estuaries, shipwrecks, caves and lagoons, and their more usual reef habitats.
Why are they a protected species?
Queensland Gropers have been severely overfished and are now protected in Australian waters. It is illegal to fish or target this species in Australian waters.
Threats to the Queensland Grouper include overfishing and collectors looking for aquarium fish.
Habitat loss is also a concern as they require both healthy estuaries and reefs to survive.
What don’t we know about the Queensland Grouper?
While the Queensland Grouper is a well-known fish around many parts of the world, scientists still aren’t sure about some details of the Queensland Grouper’s life. For example, no one is quite sure exactly how large these fish can get at maximum size or how old they can get. The reproductive part of their lifecycle is also somewhat of a mystery.
You can expand your learnings on the Queensland Grouper through further research with the Australian Museum.
Where can you see a Queensland Grouper in Australia?
You might be lucky to see a Queensland Grouper in the warm waters of tropical Queensland, especially if you head out snorkelling or scuba diving. If you aren’t lucky or swimming in Queensland’s pristine tropical waters isn’t for you then you will be pleased to know that you can see a Queensland Grouper in several of Australia’s aquariums including Sealife Sunshine Coast, Reefworld Aquarium at Hervey Bay, The Cairns Aquarium and Sydney Aquarium.