Eastern Blue Groper 

Achoerodus viridis (Steindachner, 1866)

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

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: 41-45

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).



General Description

Large stocky wrasses; dorsal fin single, long-based; tail large, almost square; lips thick, fleshy; scales large, heavy; teeth peg-like teeth; adults with a hump on forehead. Adult males bright blue to greenish-blue; females typically reddish-brown to brown, often with random pale spots or blotches; juveniles greyish or greyish-brown with spots or blotches. To 1.2 m long, and a weight of 18 kg.


Although most adults live around exposed coastal and offshore rocky reefs, individuals occasionally move into estuaries. Juveniles up to about 10 cm in length inhabit seagrass beds in bays and estuaries, then move to rocky reefs covered in macroalgae such as kelp. Blue gropers are benthic carnivores, feeding on a wide range of invertebrates, including crabs and other crustaceans, molluscs and echinoderms. They live in small groups or 'harems' with a large male and a number of females and juveniles. They are hermaphrodites and individuals change sex from females to males during their life cycle. Their numbers appear to be increasing in eastern Victorian and Tasmanian waters.


Exposed coastal and offshore rocky reefs, in depths of 1-60+ m; juveniles shelter amongst seagrasses and macro-algae in bays and estuaries.


Seagrass meadows

Distribution guide

Eastern and south-eastern Australia. In eastern Victoria, unlikely to occur west of Wilsons Promontory.

Species Group

Fishes Wrasses, rock whitings and allies


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

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

1.2 m

Commercial Species


Global Dispersal

Native to Australia


Conservation Status

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


article author Bray, D.J.

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


article author Gomon, M.F.

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


Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Eastern Blue Groper, Achoerodus viridis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 18 Jul 2024,

Text: creative commons cc by licence