Blue Groper (Achoerodus viridis)
When is a groper not actually a groper? When it’s the blue groper of course!
- A common misconception of the blue groper (Achoerodus viridis) is that it is a member of the cod and gropers family (Serranidae) when it is actually in fact a large wrasse in the Labridae family.
- It is one of the most commonly seen reef fishes in the waters of south-eastern Australia. It can been found occurring on rocky reefs and in estuaries from southern Queensland to Wilsons Promontory in Victoria.
- Juveniles are often seen in shallow seagrass meadows whilst the adults can be found to depths of 40 metres.
- Like most other species of wrasse it passes through several stages during its life. The juveniles are female and as the fish matures, it goes through an initial phase (IP) during which the fish could be either male or female. Adult females are reddish brown. Adult males develop bright blue colouration and these fish have reached the terminal phase (TP).
- The males are territorial and generally have a small harem of females in their area. If the male dies then the largest female will generally change sex and take over the role of the dominant male.
- It is an inquisitive species and will often follow divers looking for a feed of sea urchins or any other creatures they may disturb. It has strong crunching teeth and eats a variety of invertebrates such as sea urchins, cunjevoi, crabs, mussels and other molluscs.
- They are one of the largest wrasse species growing to up to 50kg and 1.2 metres in length.