Mycteroperca interstitialis (Poey, 1860)
Yellowmouth grouper
photo by Wirtz, P.

Family:  Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets), subfamily: Epinephelinae
Max. size:  84 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 10 kg; max. reported age: 41 years
Environment:  reef-associated; marine; depth range 2 - 150 m
Distribution:  Western Atlantic: Gulf of Mexico, Bermuda, Caribbean (mainly insular localities), and Brazil.
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 11-11; Dorsal soft rays (total): 16-18; Anal spines: 3-3; Anal soft rays: 10-12. Distinguished by the following characteristics: Tan to brown above, paler below; upper parts of head and most of body usually have small, brown, close-set spots; sometimes uniformly brown. Adults have exerted rays that are even and about equal in length; 23-27 total gill rakers (Ref. 26938); depth of body 3.0-3.4 times in SL; head length 2.8-3.0 times in SL; angular preopercle, enlarged serrae on prominent lobe at the angle and a distinct notch above the serrate lobe; greatly enlarged posterior nostrils in adults (Ref. 89707).
Biology:  Found mainly on rocky or coral bottoms from the shoreline to at least 55 m depth; small and middle-sized individuals commonly occur in mangrove-lined lagoons. Feeds on fishes. Sex-reversal observed (Ref. 5521). More common in island waters than along the coast (Ref. 26938). The tricolored pattern of the juveniles mimics that of the juveniles of the clown wrasse, Halichoeres maculipinna. The aggressive mimic’s behavior includes folding down the median and caudal fins, which adds to its wrasse imitation and allows it to approach its otherwise wary prey (Ref. 43465). Marketed fresh; flesh is of good quality.
IUCN Red List Status: Vulnerable (VU); Date assessed: 21 November 2016 (A4bd) Ref. (123251)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

Entered by: Luna, Susan M. - 17.10.90
Modified by: Luna, Susan M. - 31.08.05
Checked by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 29.04.94

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