Animal Species:Eastern Blue Groper, Achoerodus viridis (Steindachner, 1866)
Despite their name, they are not groupers, but wrasses. They live in shallow coastal waters and are regularily seen around exposed reefs.
The thick bodied blue gropers have peg teeth, heavy scales, a large tail and thick lips. Juveniles are brown to green brown. Adult females are brown to reddish-brown. Each scale may have a darker red spot. The adult males have the bright blue colouring that give the fish their name. The blue can range from deep navy to cobalt blue, and there may also be darker or yellow-orange spots or lines around the eyes.
This species grows to 1.2 m in length.
The Eastern Blue Groper is endemic to Australia. It is found in coastal, marine waters from southern Queensland to Wilson's Promontory, Victoria. It is particularly well known to scuba divers in New South Wales and was made the fish emblem for New South Wales in 1996.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
Adults are found in a wide range of habitats from shallow waters, down to 40 m. Juveniles are usually found in estuarine seagrass beds.
Adults are found on rocky coastal reefs, they spawn during the winter (July-October) and the young recruit primarily into estuarine sea grass beds during winter (Gillanders, 1999). A full description of the Larval Eastern Blue Groper.
Mating and reproduction
Like most wrasses, as the Eastern Blue Groper ages, it passes through several stages. Juveniles are all female. 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. These fish have reached the terminal phase (TP).
The Eastern Blue Groper is particularly susceptible to spearfishing and in the past was taken in large numbers by spearfishers. As a result of this, the species was given total protection status in New South Wales waters in 1969. In 1974, angling and commercial fishing were allowed again, but spearfishing was still prohibited. In 1975, concern over the large catches by commercial fishers led to a ban on bottom-set gill nets. Blue Groper were banned from sale in 1980.
- Gomon, M.F & B.C. Russell in Gomon, M.F, J.C.M. Glover & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
- Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
- Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Tags Eastern Blue Groper, Achoerodus viridis, Labridae, fishes, ichthyology, blue, grey, 'normal fish', > 1 m, no pattern, dots or spots, kelp/algae/seagrass, rocky reef, marine, adult, big lips, peg teeth,