Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus)
The Nassau Grouper is a large marine fish that can reach up to 4 feet (1.2m) in length. The Nassau Grouper is distinctively marked with a series of irregular dark bars over an olive to light grey background. Like most groupers, this species can change colour from pale to dark. One of the dark bars runs from the top lip, through the eye to the dorsal fin. The distinguishing feature of this species is a black saddle patch on the caudal peduncle at the base of the tail. The tail is rounded or roundly square.
Large groupers like the Nassau are the top predators on Bermuda’s coral reefs. At one time they inhabited shallow patch reefs and deeper offshore reef to about 100 feet (30 m). They feed on fish, octopus, lobsters and other crustaceans.
Nassau Groupers gather at specific sites to spawn at certain times of the year. This behaviour makes them particularly vulnerable to overharvesting as the locations of the spawning aggregations are known. Nassau Grouper numbers in Bermuda have declined