Meet the Western Blue Groper

Article | Updated 1 month ago

The Western Blue Groper, or Achoerodus gouldii, is otherwise known as Gould's Wrasse, and lives in the waters of southern Australia. 

Image of a Western Blue Groper

Western Blue Groper
Image copyright 
Sue Morrison 

Appearance

This harmless groper can grow to a maximum size of 175 cm.  It has a large stocky body with big scales, prominent fleshy lips and peg-like teeth.

Males are a rich deep blue colour with small yellow spots around the eyes. Females are greenish yellow in colour, and juveniles are greyish brown.

It is the second largest wrasse after the Humphead Maori Wrasse, reaching a maximum of around 40 kg in weight.

This inquisitive and docile fish can live up to 70 years of age – that’s pretty impressive! 

Habitat

The Western Blue Groper lives in coastal reefs down to a depth of 40 metres, although small juveniles remain in more protected waters until they are big enough to fend for themselves.

Breeding and Behaviour

This species is a slow growing, late maturing fish. It is also capable of changing gender.

It lives in small groups of one large male, two or three smaller females and several immature individuals.

They initially mature into females, but the largest female can change into a male if the dominant male dies (they are protogynous hermaphrodites). 

Over Exploited

The Western Blue Groper has been overfished in the past, but restrictions are now in place to protect it.