Serranidae - groupers/sea basses

Groupers and sea basses range in shape from small and slender to huge and robust. They are difficult to distinguish from one another based on external features alone. Color pattern is the most helpful feature for identification of species. Most groupers and sea basses are found offshore around hard substrates such as coral reefs, oil platforms, wrecks, etc. They are usually non-schooling fishes, solitary and territorial, except when spawning. Most of the species in this family are protogynous hermaphrodites, beginning their lives as females and later transforming into males. They are considered excellent food fishes though the larger fishes can cause ciguatera poisoning.