A grouper of the Serranidae family, the red hind is an important fish in the Caribbean, where large numbers are caught every year. It has excellent white, flaky meat that is usually marketed fresh.
As with all grouper, the red hind has a stout body and a large mouth. It is very similar to the rock hind in appearance, although the red hind is slightly more reddish brown in color, with dark red-brown spots above and pure red spots below over a whitish background. It differs from the rock hind in having no spots on the tail or the dorsal fin and no dark splotches on the back or the tail. The outer edges of the soft dorsal, the caudal, and the anal ﬁns are blackish and are sometimes also edged in white. It can pale or darken to blend with surroundings.
The red hind can grow to 2 feet, although it is usually less than 15 inches long; most 12-inch and larger ﬁsh are males. Although it can reach 10 pounds, the red hind is rarely larger than 4 pounds in weight; the all-tackle world record is for a 6-pound, 1-ounce fish taken off Florida. The red hind can live for 17 years or longer.
Spawning takes place from March through July in 68° to 82°F waters at depths of 100 to 130 feet. At this time, mature fish of age 3 and older form large clusters over rugged bottoms. The female lays pelagic eggs in numbers between 90,000 and more than 3 million. Some ﬁsh undergo sexual inversion.
Food and feeding habits
Red hind feed on various bottom animals, such as crabs, crustaceans, ﬁsh, and octopus; they hide in holes and crevices and capture prey by ambush or after a short chase.
In the western Atlantic, red hind occur from North Carolina and Bermuda south to the Bahamas, the southern Gulf of Mexico, and to Brazil. They are common in the Caribbean, occasional in the Bahamas and Florida, and rare north of Florida.
Red hind are one of the most common grouper in the West Indies, inhabiting shallow inshore reefs and rocky bottoms at depths of 10 to 160 feet. In Florida and the Bahamas they are usually found in quieter, deeper waters. Red hind are solitary and territorial ﬁsh, often found drifting or lying motionless along the bottom, camouﬂaged by their surroundings.