Any of numerous species of fishes (family Serranidae) widely distributed in warm seas, especially members of the genera Epinephelus and Mycteroperca. Groupers are characteristically large-mouthed, heavy-bodied fishes. Some species grow larger than 6 ft (about 2 m) long and heavier than 500 lb (225 kg). Groupers are usually dull green or brown; some species can change their colour pattern, and deepwater individuals may be much redder than nearshore ones. They are prime food fishes, though a few species carry a toxic substance in their flesh and can cause poisoning when consumed, and they provide sport for anglers and spearfishermen. See also jewfish; sea bass.
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