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Mero Gigante II [ Epinephelus Lanceolatus ] | by Carlos Dobaño Fotografía
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Mero Gigante II [ Epinephelus Lanceolatus ]

El 13 de julio del 2006, el Aquarium adquirió a un importador francés un ejemplar juvenil de mero gigante (Epinephelus lanceolatus - Bloch, 1790) de unos 30cm de longitud. El mero gigante puede alcanzar los 270cm de longitud y los 400kg de peso. A esta variedad de mero se le puede llegar a encontrar a los 100m de profundidad aunque prefiere aguas más someras y siempre ligadas al arrecife donde se alimenta de peces, pequeños tiburones, crustáceos y cefalópodos. Ahora mismo mide algo más de 130 cms y como se aprecia en la fotografía, está tremendamente corpulento. Como es uno de los emblemas del zoo-aquarium de Madrid, para darle mayor protagonismo se le puso un nombre, el Mero .... Baldomero. En fin, sobre esto último no haré más comentarios. Estas dos imágenes son tremendamente naturales y simplemente queda reflejada la magnitud a la que puede llegar un mero gigante.

 

GIANT GROUPER

 

Scientific name: Epinephelus lanceolatus

Distribution: Indo-Pacific, Red Sea to Hawai'i

Size: to 9.8 feet long (300 cm) & to 882 pounds (>400 kg)

Diet: spiny lobsters, reef fishes, small sea turtles, small sharks

 

The giant grouper ( Epinephelus lanceolatus ) is one of the largest reef-dwelling fish. It

may grow to more than 9.8 feet long (300 cm) and reach weights of over 800 pounds (>400 kg).

Found on reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific, it occurs from the Red Sea to Hawai'i, and from

New South Wales (Australia) to southern Japan. It is one of only two groupers native to Hawai'i

and is exceedingly rare here.

 

A solitary inhabitant of lagoon and seaward reefs, the giant grouper ranges from depths

of a few feet to at least 150 feet (45 m). Large individuals may have a “home site” they

frequent. The giant grouper patrols slowly or rests quietly close to the bottom. Its mottled

coloration blends with the surroundings, providing good camouflage for this large-mouthed

ambush hunter. Its diet includes spiny lobsters and other large crustaceans, reef fishes, small sea turtles, and small sharks – all are swallowed whole.

 

When the Aquarium's resident grouper arrived from Australia in July 1998, it was about

two feet (60 cm) long and weighed roughly 10 pounds (4.5 kg). It rapidly outgrew the 300-

gallon Cleaning Symbiosis exhibit in the South Pacific Gallery and was moved into the Hunters

on the Reef exhibit in 1999, where it continues to grow in length and girth. A second giant

grouper was added in 2004.

 

This grouper's stocky shape and brown coloration give it a nearly potato-like profile.

Watch for it resting motionless on the bottom or hovering effortlessly in midwater, using only

tiny fin movements to maintain its position. Since groupers are long-lived, this specimen could

live for decades and become a dominant presence in the exhibit.

 

The giant grouper belongs to the Family Serranidae, a prominent group of more than 400

species showing great contrasts in size, habits, and distribution. Serranids range from the 7-foot

long giant grouper to the delicate basslets and anthias that may attain only two inches (6 cm) in

length. Large or small, serranids are important predators on reefs. Larger species, like the

groupers, are solitary ambush predators that feed on fishes and crustaceans. Basslets are mid-

sized bottom-dwellers. The colorful anthias (also called fairy basslets in some references) form

aggregations above the reef, where they feed on zooplankton. While serranids are key members

of the reef communities in the Caribbean and Indo-Pacific, this family is represented by only a

few species in Hawai'i

 

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Taken on July 16, 2011