Golden Grouper The golden grouper (Saloptia powelli), also known as the pink grouper or Powell's grouper, is a species of marine ray-finned fish, a grouper from the subfamily Epinephelinae which is part of the family Serranidae, which also includes the anthias and sea basses. It is found in the eastern Indian Ocean and Western Pacific Ocean.
The golden grouper is a medium-sized fish that can grow up to 120 centimeters (47 inches) long and weigh over 50 kilograms (110 lbs). It has a thick body with large scales, and its head is flat above and slightly convex below. Unlike most other groupers, the golden grouper is brightly colored with numerous pinkish to yellow vertical bars on its body. These bars are usually thicker near the midline of the fish's sides. The fins may be grayish-brown or dark brown, and their bases can be reddish.
The diet of the golden grouper mostly consists of crustaceans and mollusks, such as shrimps and crabs. The golden grouper lives in coral reefs at depths between 25 and 100 meters (82 to 330 feet). It prefers habitats with rocky bottoms. This fish is solitary or lives in small groups, but it can be part of a large community of fish.
The golden grouper are fished for human consumption. It is an important species in some areas, and some fishing communities rely on it as their main source of income. However, this fish has recently declined in numbers because its coral reef habitat has deteriorated due to coral mining, coastal development, destructive fishing methods, pollution, and climate change. The golden grouper may be able to adapt to these changes and continue its existence, but the World Conservation Union has listed it as near threatened because of its decreasing population.
The golden grouper is one of six species of groupers recently described in a study published by researchers from China. This study was conducted by analyzing and comparing the sequences of the nuclear glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) genes. The description of these six species was part of a larger study that aimed to describe many previously unknown fish species in China by analyzing their DNA barcodes.
Currently, there are no known conservation measures in place to protect this species. It is possible that if its population declines continue, it could be placed under protection by the governments of the countries where it lives.