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Coral hind

(Cephalopholis mineata)

Most species are medium and large fish, up to a meter long, however, there are also dwarfs (about 10 cm 100 grams) and giants (up to 3 meters, and according to some sources up to 6 m, and weighing more than 450 kg).

The giant grouper Epinephelus lanceolatus, 270 cm long and weighing 400 kg, lives in the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans. In the Western Pacific, the grouper Epinephelus itajara is found, 250 cm long and weighing 455 kg. There is evidence that groupers grew so large that they could swallow a swimmer or even a diver. Arthur Clark wrote that while diving off the coast of Sri Lanka, he found himself side by side with a grouper 6.1 m long and 1.2 m thick, which lived in a sunken floating dock. But in order to swallow a diver, a grouper will need a throat that can expand up to 0.61 sq.m. Growing up to such large dimensions and having a militant disposition, this fish is not at all "harmless". They are fiercely protective of their territory, and can cause serious injury to those who, in the opinion of the fish, have invaded it.

All representatives of this family are real predators. Serranovye early switch to a predatory lifestyle; young fish 2-3 cm long feed mainly on juvenile fish, while cases of cannibalism are often observed, which is also observed in adults. Usually groupers do not chase their prey in open space, but lie in wait for it in ambush. These are massive fish and their structure does not allow them to swim quickly over long distances. Groupers have a large head and a very wide mouth. Its upper lip is attached to its head with ligaments and skin folds, and when the fish lowers its lower jaw, the mouth takes the form of a tube for sucking prey. They do not have very many teeth, but there are strong crushing plates located inside the pharynx. When a suitable prey appears, the grouper opens its mouth and sucks it in from a distance, along with water, sometimes accompanying this movement with a sharp throw. They feed on small sharks, fish, lobsters, rays, young sea turtles, etc. Groupers also use their mouths to burrow into the ground for shelters under large rocks, while shooting a jet through their gills. The muscles of their gills are so strong that it is almost impossible to get the fish out of its cave when, feeling attacked, it expands its gills, thus blocking itself in the cave.

The coloration of groupers is very diverse, often on a dark background there is a bright pattern of dots, stripes or spots, in some species the dark color is accompanied by bright spots on the fins. Small species are usually brighter, sometimes even red or yellow, especially this coloration is typical for lyopropoma. However, large species are not far behind in beauty, for example, a black body with a bright yellow throat and thin white pepper stripes on the sides can have a one and a half meter grouper. The grouper changes its bright and varied coloring depending on its mood.


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