PORT PHILLIP BAY


Western Blue Groper 

Achoerodus gouldii (Richardson, 1843)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: XI, 11
Anal fin spines/rays: III, 11
Caudal fin rays: 14
Pectoral fin rays: 16-18
Ventral fin spines/rays: I, 5
Lateral line: 33-37

Interpreting fin count meristics.
Spines are in Roman numerals and soft rays are in Arabic numerals. Spines and rays that are continuous in one fin are separated by a comma. Fin sections are separated by semicolons.

Detailed descriptions of fin count and other meristics are in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
A large and highly diverse group of modern bony fishes many of which have a generalized perch like body form. Most have pelvic fins with one spine and 5 rays and the maxillary bone is excluded from the gape of the mouth. Interrelationships of the group are poorly understood and continue to be studied. They inhabit almost all aquatic habitats from high-altitude strams to the deep sea, although most are marine.

Family level detail.
Usually long, slender colourful fishes with a single long-based dorsal fin, well-developed pectoral fins used for swimming, thick lips, jaws with well-developed canine teeth and crushing molars on the bones at the bases of the gill arches. Many are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning that they change sex from female to male.

Recent molecular studies indicate the Labridae is not a natural group without the inclusion of the Weed whitings (formerly Odacidae) and Parrotfishes (formerly Scaridae).

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Perciformes
Family:
Labridae
Genus:
Achoerodus
Species:
gouldii

General Description

Body large robust, dorsal fin single, long-based; tail large almost square; lips thick, fleshy lips; teeth large, peg-like; scales large, heavy, and form scaly sheaths at the dorsal and anal fin bases. Adult males are greyish to blue, adult females are typically greyish-green to reddish in colour, and juveniles are greenish with scattered pale spots. To 1.8 m long, and a weight of up to 40kg.

Biology

These large inquisitive wrasses are benthic carnivores, feeding on small crabs and other crustaceans, echinoderms (sea urchins) and molluscs, including abalone. Like most wrasses, blue groper change sex from females to males during their life (protogynous hermaphrodites), and also change colour along the way.

Habitat

Exposed rocky reefs along the coast, to depths of 100 m, most in 0-40 m; juveniles shelter amongst seagrasses and macro-algae in bays and estuaries.

Reefs

Seagrass meadows

Distribution guide

Southern Australia, including western and central Victoria.

Species Group

Fishes Wrasses, rock whitings and allies

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

1.8 m

Commercial Species

Yes

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Identify

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Vulnerable

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Western Blue Groper, Achoerodus gouldii, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Oct 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/7842

Text: creative commons cc by licence