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Epinephelus marginatus is a very large, oval-bodied and large-headed fish with a wide mouth which has a protruding lower jaw. The head and upper body are coloured dark reddish brown or greyish, usually with yellowish gold countershading on the ventral surfaces the base colour is marked by a vertical series of irregular pale greenish yellow or silvery grey or whitish blotching which is normally rather conspicuous on the body and head the black maxillary streak varies in its markedness dark brown median fins distal edges of the anal and caudal fins and also often pectoral fins have narrow white terminal bands the pelvic fins are black towards their tips while the pectoral fins are dark reddish-brown or grey the margin of spiny dorsal fin and basal part of the pectoral fins are often golden yellow in colour. There are eleven spines and 13-16 soft rays in the dorsal fin. This species can grow up to 150 cm in standard length but is more often 90 cm. E. marginatus is a protogynous hermaphrodite, meaning that all fish begin adult life as females but as they grow larger and older they develop into males. They attain sexual maturity at quite a late age, females begin to breed when they are around five years of age, and then between their 9th and 16th years they change into males, most commonly at 12. The fish start to transform into males at a length of 65 cm, although most change sex when they are between 80 and 90 cm in total length. In some popula...
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