Serranidae

Within the Serranidae or Grouper Family, on the Costa Brava we see the following species of fish:

  • Epinephelus marginatus (Dusky grouper)
  • Serranus scriba (Painted comber)
  • Serranus cabrilla (Comber)
  • Serranus hepatus (Brown comber)
  • Anthias anthias (Mediterranean fairy basslet or Sea perch)

The Sea perch is abundant at depths below 20 meters around wrecks, caves and overhangs. All animals in a shoal are female apart from the larger male. When the male dies, the largest female will change sex. Peachy pink with a lighter stripe across the cheek and long pelvic fins, this is a beautiful and graceful species to photograph.

Dusky GrouperYoung Dusky GrouperThe Dusky grouper is a solitary, territorial species up to 150 cm in length, 60 kg in weight, and up to 50 years old. Lives on rocky bottoms, near the shelter of caves and gullies, feeding on octopus, crabs and fish. Prized for it's tasty flesh, the Dusky grouper is included on the IUCN Red List as "threatened". The sexual characteristics of the Dusky grouper make it especially vulnerable. It is a protogynous hermaphrodite species, initially female and becoming male at some later point in life. Therefore there is a high risk of unprotected populations consisting of all females, compromising their sustainability. Due to its sedentary lifestyle and curiosity towards divers, it easily becomes prey to underwater spear-gun hunters. It is a key species for our research data.

The Comber is a common, solitary, territorial species, also seen around Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows and over rocky bottoms, and in association with the Common octopus. Can grow between 20 and 40 cm in length, but specimens are usually smaller than the average Painted comber.

The Painted comber is a common, solitary, territorial species, bearing a characteristic blue spot on the belly, often seen around Posidonia oceanica seagrass meadows and over rocky bottoms. 20 to 36 cm in length. The Painted comber is a synchronous hermaphrodite, carrying both ovaries and testes and able to produce eggs and sperm at the same time. Often seen in association with the Common octopus, maybe looking for a free meal.

The Brown comber is the smallest of all the combers at 10 to 15 cm in length. Less commonly seen as it inhabits greater depths and is well camouflaged against sandy bottoms between reefs.