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Bacalao grouper

Bacalao grouper
© Jack Stein Grove

Common name:

Bacalao grouper

Scientific name:

Mycteroperca olfax

Spanish name:


Conservation status:



Average lifespan:

17 years

Average size:

1 metre

Average weight:

1.5 kilograms


Some more common names for this fish are Colorado grouper, mangrove grouper, sailfin grouper, sea bass and yellow grouper. Its Spanish name is bacalao.  

The bacalao is common around the Galapagos Islands but was downgraded to Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2022, and its range is restricted to three island groups: the Galapagos Islands (Ecuador), Cocos Island (Costa Rica) and Malpelo (Colombia).  

This fish has historically been overfished as it was considered the most valuable in the Galapagos Islands. Adult bacalao tend to inhabit rocky structures such as underwater lava ridges and rocky reefs, however juveniles tend to be found in shallower waters or mangrove lagoons. Bacalao have an annual reproduction cycle which peaks in October and December. As with many reef fish, bacalao are hermaphroditic. All are born as females and reach sexual maturity at four years. At around 12 years of age and given the right conditions, they then transform into males.

Bacalao grouper in Galapagos

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