The mighty potato cod of Australia and the Pacific grows to 2 m long and can weigh 110 kg (242 lbs or over 17 stone). It is a grouper, exceedingly territorial and very aggressive towards intruders. A diver has drowned after being knocked in the chest by one of these fish.
The potato cod (Epinephelus tukula) prefers coral reefs, although also occurs on rocky reefs at depths of 10 to 150 m
Groupers are amongst the most tasty of fishes and fetch a high price, but potato cod numbers, so far, are not at risk.
These fish take 5 to 10 years to become mature
According to legend, a grouper fell in love with a pretty girl but swallowed her by mistake. She had with her shells which she used to cut slits in the grouper and make her escape. The grouper was unhurt and became the first fish to have gills.
As well as gills the Epinephelini group of groupers have big mouths and small teeth. They are top-level predators, mainly found close to coasts.
Australia’s famous Cod Hole dive site is one place where you are guaranteed to see potato cod. The cod are huge and very tolerant of divers.
Froese, R. and D. Pauly. Editors. 2011. FishBase.
Fennessy, S., Pollard, D. & Myers, R. 2008. Epinephelus tukula. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. www.iucnredlist.org