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Eastern blue

Grey nurse shark
Silver perch
Murray crayfish

We're among the largest and most commonly seen reef fish in NSW. We're very inquisitive and often follow divers, waiting to see if they might disturb a sea urchin or other creature we might like to eat.

Eastern blue gropers can be distinguished from other reef fish, like rock blackfish, drummer and luderick, by our slow movement using just our pectoral fins (the fins behind the gills).





A member of the wrasse family, we change colour and sex as we grow. As a juvenile, the female is brown to green-brown. At about 35 cm (1 kg), she matures to the adult female and turns to red-brown. At around 60cm (5 kg), sometimes smaller, the adult female turns into a male and the colour changes to blue or grey-blue. The male can reach 1 metre in length.

As you can see I'm male.

Check out this photo of a blue groper. Click on it for a bigger image.

Our eyes are small and we have these yellow or orange squiggly lines around them. Our body is thick, and we've got a big tail and thick lips.

Our teeth, which are like pegs, are strong and we can eat a variety of invertebrates (creatures without back bones), such as sea urchins, cunjevoi, crabs, mussels and other molluscs.

When we're small juveniles we live in seagrass beds in estuaries. In Sydney, you can see small juveniles in seagrass beds in early spring. As we grow we migrate to inshore rocky reefs and then offshore reefs.

Up to six or seven of us may form a school. At night we don't do much. We rest in reef crevices.

We're found from Hervey Bay in Queensland to Wilsons Promontory in Victoria. There's also a western blue groper, which is found from Victoria to southern Western Australia.




Only people fishing with a line can catch a blue groper in NSW and they can only keep two. There are some places, like Clovelly in Sydney, where you can't catch us at all. Come and swim with us instead.

Want to read a great story about a blue groper? Click on the book cover to read some of the author Tim Winton's book Blueback.