Mycteroperca microlepis (Goode & Bean, 1879)
Gag
photo by Cox, C.

Family:  Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets), subfamily: Epinephelinae
Max. size:  145 cm TL (male/unsexed); max.weight: 36 kg; max. reported age: 31 years
Environment:  reef-associated; depth range 30 - 160 m, oceanodromous
Distribution:  Western Atlantic: North Carolina, USA (with juveniles occurring as far north as Massachusetts) to the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Rare in Bermuda; one record in Cuba; also reported from eastern 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: adult females and juveniles are generally brownish grey with dark vermiculations; camouflage phase has 5 dark brown saddles separated by short white bars below the dorsal fin; large males sometimes display a "black-belly" and "black-back" phase; black-belly phase is mostly pale grey, with faint dark reticulations below soft dorsal fin, belly and ventral part of the body above anal fin black, as are margin of the soft dorsal fin, central rear part of caudal fin and rear margins of pectoral and pelvic fins; depth of body contained 3.0-3.5 times in SL; head length 2.5-2.7 times in SL; convex interorbital area; angle of preopercle produced into a rounded lobe bearing enlarged serrae; posterior nostrils of adults much larger than anterior ones; smooth lateral body scales, except those covering pectoral fin (Ref. 89707).
Biology:  Juveniles occur in estuaries and seagrass beds; adults are usually found offshore on rocky bottom (rarely to 152 m), occasionally inshore on rocky or grassy bottom. It is the most common grouper on rocky ledges in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. Adults are either solitary or in groups of 5 to 50 individuals; feed mainly on fishes, some crabs, shrimps, and cephalopods. Juveniles (less than 20 cm) feed mainly on crustaceans that live in shallow grass beds.
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: Parducho, Vina Angelica - 08.08.18
Checked by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 29.04.94

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