The return of the yellow grouper – annual migration and return to the same site by a xanthistic Mycteroperca fusca (Pisces: Serranidae)

Peter Wirtz

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 31-34, Volume 13, Issue 1 – 25 October 2007


The homing behaviour of an individually recognizable Mycteroperca fusca has been observed in the field over a time span of 25 years. The animal leaves the bay of Garajau on the south coast of Madeira Island in spring and returns every year in autumn. This is the first long-term study showing that a fish returns to the same place annually, in a manner similar to migratory birds.

Full Text | PDF (128 KB)


BARDACH, J. E. 1958. On the movements of certain Bermuda reef fishes. Ecology 39: 139-146.

CARTER, H. J., MARROW, G. J. & PRYOR, V. 1994. Aspects of the ecology and reproduction of Nassau grouper, Epinephelus striatus, off the coast of Belize. Proceedings of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute 43: 65-111.

COLEMAN, F. C., KOENIG, C. C. & COLLINS, L. A. 1996. Reproductive styles of shallow-water groupers (Pisces: Serranidae) in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and the consequences of fishing. Environmental Biology of Fishes 47: 129-141.

CRABTREE, R. E. & BULLOCK, L. H. 1998. Age, growth, and reproduction of black grouper, Mycteroperca bonaci, in Florida waters. Fishery Bulletin 96: 735-753.

DOMEIER, M. L. & COLIN, P. E. 1997. Tropical reef fish spawning aggregations: defined and reviewed. Bulletin of Marine Science 60: 698-726.

DOMEIER, M. L. & NASBY-LUCAS, N. 2007. Annual resightings of photographically identified white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) at an eastern Pacific aggregation site (Guadalupe, Mexico). Marine Biology 150: 977-984.

HARRIS, P. J. , WYANSKI, D. M., WHITE, D. E. & MOORE, J. L. 2002. Age, growth, and reproduction of samp, Mycteroperca phenax, in the southwestern north Atlantic, 1979-1997. Bulletin of Marine Science 70: 113-132.

HEEMSTRA, P. C. 1991. A taxonomic revision of the eastern Atlantic groupers (Pisces: Serranidae). Boletim do Museu Municipal do Funchal 43: 5-71.

HEEMSTRA, P. C. & RANDALL, J. E. eds. 1993. Groupers of the world (Family Serranidae, subfamily Epinephelinae): an annotated and illustrated catalogue of the grouper, rockcod, hind, coral grouper, and lyretail species known to date. FAO fisheries synopsis no. 125: 1-124. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.

HOFFMAN, J. I.,TRATHAN, P.N.&AMOS,W. 2006. Genetic tagging reveals extreme site fidelity in territorial male Antarctic fur seals Arctocephalus gazella. Molecular Ecology 15: 3841-3847.

HUNTER, E., BUCKLEY, A. A., STEWART, C. & METCALFE, J. D. 2005. Repeated seasonal migration by a thornback ray in the southern North Sea. Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 85: 1199-1200.

RANDALL, J. E. 1961. Tagging reef fishes in the Virgin Islands. Proceedings of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute 14: 201-241.

SADOVY, Y., COLIN, P. L. & DOMEIER, M. L. 1994. Aggregation and spawning in the tiger grouper, Mycteroperca tigris (Pisces: Serranidae). Copeia 1994: 511–616.

SALDANHA, L 1979. Fauna Submarina Atlantica. Publicacoes Europa-America, Lisboa. 222 pp.

SHAPIRO, D. Y. 1987. Reproduction in groupers. In: Tropical Snappers and Groupers. Biology and Fisheries Management (Eds. J. J. Popovina & S. Ralston.): 295-327. Westview Press, Boulder.

VAN SANT, S. B., COLLINS, M. R. & SEDBERRY, G. R. 1994. Preliminary evidence from a tagging study for a gag (Mycteroperca microlepis) spawning migration, with notes on the use of oxytetracycline for chemical tagging. Proceedings of the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute 43: 417-428.

WASCHKEWITZ, R. & WIRTZ, P. 1990. Annual migration and return to the same site by an individual grouper, Epinephelus alexandrinus (Pisces, Serranidae). Journal of Fish Biology 36: 781-782.

Previous post

A new genus and miniature species of pipehorse (Syngnathidae) from Indonesia

Next post

Opistognathus rufilineatus, a new species of jawfish (Opistognathidae) from the Bird’s Head Peninsula, western New Guinea

The Author



No Comment

Leave a reply