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Epinephelus cruentatus
(Lacépède, 1802)

Body strong and stout, with a large mouth. Light reddish brown to gray, with darker orangish brown spots. Can change color, pale or darken (E. cruentatus 3). Three to five contrasting pale or dark spots along the base of the dorsal fin. Tail rounded.
Juveniles grayish, with a yellow wash over the head and back. A white band runs from the nape, between the eyes, to the lower lip. Like the adult, with three to five contrasting pale or dark spots along the base of the dorsal fin.
Size up to 42.5 cm.

Inhabits seagrass beds and coral reefs, common between 3 and 20 m. A solitary and secretive fish that usually stay near hiding places during day. A nocturnal predator, adults feed mainly on fish, juveniles feed on shrimps. The prey drawn into their gullets by a powerful suction created when they open their large mouths. Held securely by thousands of small, rasp-like teeth that cover the jaws, tongue and palate, the prey is swallowed whole. Groupers are hermaphroditic, beginning life as females, but changing to males with maturity.

Common South Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.

Graysby (Epinephelus cruentatus)