Dusky grouper

Dusky grouper

  Cold and temperate sea fish

Dusky grouper

Identity card

Dusky grouper

Scientific name:
Epinephelus marginatus
Year of description:
Lowe, 1834
IUCN Status:

In the Mediterranean and in the eastern Atlantic.


The dusky grouper lives on uneven rocky seabeds with cavities or caves for shelter.


40 to 80 cm, maximum size approximately 140 cm.


The dusky grouper feeds mainly on cephalopods (cuttlefish, octopus and squid), crustaceans and fish.


The largest specimens can live up to 60 years

Dusky grouper

The grouper is a hermaphrodite species that starts out female and then becomes male.

From July to September, sexually mature groupers gather in large numbers, a few dozen to hundreds of individuals in rocky areas at a depth of 15 to 30 m. Around the month of August, at nightfall, the groupers gather in courtship and the emission of gametes lasts only a few days. Fertilisation takes place in open water and the eggs are pelagic. They hatch about 40 hours after fertilisation. Larvae start feeding on the third day.

Did you know?

Où trouver l'animal ?

The dusky grouper is one of the most representative fish of the French southern coast. It is a heritage species, and an indicator of the quality of the environment. If the grouper is thriving then it is a sign that the food chain behind it is thriving too.

Comment le reconnaît-on ? 

The grouper is one of the largest fish. It can measure up to 90 cm and its oval body is massive and sturdy. The largest specimens can grow up to 150 cm.

It has a massive head and protruding eyes. Light spots cluster around the eye. It has a single dorsal fin, a rounded tail with a white border and dark dorsal and anal fins.

Quelle est sa particularité ? 

The dusky grouper is a protogynous hermaphrodite species, i.e. it is born female and then changes sex to become male. Initially female and able to reproduce at the age of 4 or 5 years (about 40-50 cm), there is a change of sex when the grouper reaches the age of 10 to 14 years and a size of 60-70 cm.

After 15 years and with a size of 80-90 cm the majority of specimens have become males.

Menace et mesure de protection

Harvesting and pollution almost wiped out the Mediterranean grouper. In 1993, the introduction of a first moratorium on underwater hunting led to a gradual increase in numbers, particularly in protected marine areas. In 2003, the extended moratorium on hook-and-line fishing boosted populations even outside protected areas. Currently protected by a moratorium lasting until 2023, this iconic species is not allowed to be fished by any means other than using nets.

Where can I find it at Nausicaá?


Dusky grouper

Cold and temperate sea fish

The Ocean Mag

Browse through our Ocean Mag

A la une


A tiny light in the abyss while all around, darkness reigns. Where does the light come from?


Biodiversity on the High Seas at long last protected?

In 2018, an ambitious initiative for the ocean was launched.


LINEUP OCEAN in Nausicaá’s big tank

A dive into the big tank for LINEUP OCEAN, a startup incubated at Nausicaá’s Blue Living Lab!