The Jew Fish
The Jew fish is also known as the Goliath grouper,this is the largest fish on the reef. They are yellowish brown to olive green in color, with their head and fins covered with small black spots and the body containing irregular dark and vertical bars and spots. Their fins are rounded and they have small eyes compared to their body size. These large creatures can grow up to 8 feet and weigh more than 700 pounds. The Jew fish makes a loud sound by vibrating a membrane inside their bodies, this sound can be heard from a distance and is believed to scare off intruders and locate other Jew fishes. They have a lifespan of up to 50 years.
They are found inshore and are generally found alone residing in caves, ocean debris and under ledges. They can also be found in estuaries, bays, harbors, mangrove areas and shipwrecks.
Jew fishes are mostly meat eaters (carnivores). They hide in structures until they see a potential prey near the area where they are located. They then rush out to engulf the prey and return to their hiding places. Their potential prey consists of crustaceans, octopuses, turtles, fishes, spiny lobsters, crabs, small sea turtles, spiny puffers and stingrays.
The Jew fish spawns at specific locations during the full moon periods of the summer months. They travel to their spawning aggregation site, mate and then return to their solitary existence. They must be 4-7 years old before they are mature enough to spawn.
Photograph courtesy Allan Hines
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