Virgin Islands Groupers & Grunts

Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus)
Photo by Caroline Rogers

Nassau Grouper (Epinephelus striatus)

The Nassau grouper is protected! They have five reddish-brown bars over a light colored body. They are usually seen on shallow to mid-range reefs blending in with surroundings.
Black Grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci)
Photo by Lee Richter

Black Grouper (Mycteroperca bonaci)

The black grouper varies from reddish brown to black in color with rectangular shaped markings on the upper body and yellow markings on the ends of the pectoral fins. The end of the tail has a wide black bar or margin. These are considered rare here.
Red Grouper (Epinephelus morio)
Photo by Susanna Pershern

Red Grouper (Epinephelus morio)

This reddish brown grouper can change color from dark to pale with white blotch to blend in with its surroundings. They are not commonly seen here.
Coney (Cephalopholis fulva)
Photo by Christy McManus

Coney (Cephalopholis fulva)

The coney goes through several color phases which can be bicolored or golden as juveniles turning to a reddish color with blue dots on the dorsal fin and body, black dots on lower lip and two black dots behind the dorsal fin. They are commonly seen in reef areas and can be curious. Their lack of concern and coloring makes them a great species for photography.
Graysby (Cephalopholis cruentata)
Photo by Judy Buchholz

Graysby (Cephalopholis cruentata)

The graysby is light reddish brown with dark orange or reddish spots over the body. They have 3-5 spots which can be pale or dark along the dorsal fin and a roundish tail. Similar to the Coney, this species can be photographed if approached slowly. They are commonly seen on in coral reefs, small ledges or caves.
Red Hind (Epinephelus guttatus) David Bryan
Photo by David Bryan

Red Hind (Epinephelus guttatus)

The red hind has reddish spots on a light background and pale or dark blotches below the dorsal fin. They can become pale when over sand and darken to blend into reef structures.
Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara)
Photo by Leslie Charpentier

Goliath Grouper (Epinephelus itajara)

This giant fish is rarely seen here because of overfishing and their reclusive nature and are now protected. They hide in caves, shipwrecks, and under ledges. They have small dark spots over the body and fins.
French Grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum) by Susanna Pershern
Photo by Susanna Pershern

French Grunt (Haemulon flavolineatum)

French grunts have bright yellow stripes with blue or yellow background. The yellow stripes along the back are horizontal and they have yellow fins. They are often seen in small to large groups or schools in the shade of corals or rock formations.
Tomtate (Haemulon aurolineatum) by Dave Bryan
Photo by Dave Bryan

Tomtate (Haemulon aurolineatum)

The tomtate is a silver-white fish with a bold yellow or bronze stripe that runs from the snout through the eyes to the base of the tail. They may have a black spot on the base of the tail and additional yellow strips. They are usually found in groups or schools in shaded areas.

Last updated: October 28, 2021

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