The red grouper was one of the most abundant grouper in the Caribbean and surrounding waters until spearﬁshing and general overﬁshing depleted its numbers.
IdentificationOf varying coloration, the red grouper is usually dark brownish-red, especially around the mouth, and may have dark bars and blotches similar to those on the Nassau grouper, as well as a few small whitish blotches scattered in an irregular pattern. It is distinguished from the Nassau grouper by its lack of a saddle spot and its smooth, straight front dorsal ﬁn.
On the Nassau grouper the dorsal ﬁn is notched. It has a blackish tinge to the soft dorsal, the anal, and the tail fins; pale bluish margins on the rear dorsal, the anal, and the tail ﬁns; and small black spots around the eyes. The lining of the mouth is scarlet to orange. The second spine of the dorsal ﬁn is longer than the others, the pectoral ﬁns are longer than the pelvic ﬁns, and the tail is distinctively squared off.