Black Grouper


Jack's Revised version of the Black Grouper

Jack's first version of the Black Grouper:

Refference Material


Black grouper, Mycteroperca bonaci

Note: there’s a lot of variability in the coloration of this species. I’ve denoted the pictures and 

illustrations that seem to depict the most common coloration, which we would likely want to use 

in the illustration.

From South Atlantic Fishery Management Council Website 


Coloration is highly variable and changes with the size of the fish. Brownish gray in color 

with dark worm-like markings on sides; strong serrated spur at bottom margin of 

preopercle, less noticeable in large specimens; fins dark, with anal and caudal having 

white margin; often confused with gag grouper; most noticeable differences are brassy 

spots on black grouper; tail of gag is slightly concave, black grouper's tail is square; gag 

has white margin on anal and caudal fins, black does not; under 10 pounds, gag's spur on 

preopercle is distinctive, where black is gently rounded.

From Smithsonian Marine Station at Fort Pierce 


 Body depth is less than the length of the head, which is convex in profile.  

 The lower jaw projects beyond the upper.  

 The preopercule is evenly rounded with no notch or lobe at the angle.  

 The nostrils are subequal.  

 The dorsal fin has 11 spines, with 15-17 soft rays.  The interspinous membrane is 

deeply incised. 

 The anal fin has 3 spines and 11 – 13 soft rays.  

 The pectoral fins have 16-17 rays.  

 Both the dorsal and anal fins are somewhat rounded at the margins, but the caudal 

fin is truncate. 

 Body color varies greatly depending on hormonal levels and activity of the fish 

but is typically light tan or olive to gray or dark brown marked with irregular 

brassy/bronze, somewhat rectangular blotches and spots.  Reticulations are 

separated by slightly bluish markings.  Spots may join to form horizontal streaks 

along the sides.  The soft dorsal, anal, and leading edge of pelvic fin all have dark 

margins, while the pectoral fin has a narrow orange margin.

From FAO Species Catalogue (

 Body depth distinctly less than head length, depth contained 3.3 to 3.5 times in

 standard length (for fish 15 to 59 cm standard length)

 Head length contained 2.5 to 2.8 times in standard length

 Color: Head and body greyish or dark brown, with close-set, irregular, bronze, or 

brassy spots separated by a bluish reticulum (some brassy spots join to form 

chain-like horizontal streaks); dorsolateral part of body sometimes with 7 or 8 

columns of rectangular dark blotches, the first above opercle and the last on 

caudal peduncle. Pectoral fins dusky brown, gradually becoming orange at the 

margin; soft dorsal and anal fins and leading edge of pelvic fins-with dark margin.

From Florida Museum of Natural History 


 Olive or gray body coloration along with dark rectangular blotches and small 

hexagonal bronze spots on its head and lower side. The borders of the soft dorsal, 

anal, and caudal fin is black or bluish; sometime there is an orangish edge along 

the pectoral fins