Groupers are related to bass, as they are classified under the same family, but they belong to different subfamilies. They look nowhere near similar since most groupers have a stout appearance while most bass are perch-like, but they are cousins.
This article will provide in detail the family tree of both grouper and bass.
Are Groupers related to bass?
A large range of fishes can be called bass, but mainly the fishes belonging to the order Perciformes are called by that title. There are mainly four families under this order.
One of them is the Serranidae family. This large family consists of about 450 species spread across 65 genera in total. They are usually distributed around tropical and temperate oceans, but some enter the freshwater. Sea basses and groupers both belong to this family. The black sea bass (Centropristis striata) is a member of the Serranidae sea bass and grouper family.
Goliath groupers are basically large sea bass from the family Serranidae and the order Perciformes. Any fish that belong to the number of genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae are categorized as groupers.
They are found on the Atlantic and Pacific coast of tropical America as well as in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. The Ten Thousand Islands area off Southwest Florida is considered the center of abundance for these gentle giants.
When you see a grouper, especially one of those mammoth goliath groupers, you might not make an immediate connection with bass, but the name bass is shared by several species of fish out there. While groupers are not directly called bass, they are still a part of that family tree!
The term covers both freshwater and marine species belonging to the order Perciformes. These fish are all perch-like, and the word “bass” also comes from the Middle English word “bars,” which means perch. Many other fishes like channel bass, rock bass, sunfish, calico bass, and crappie are also known as bass.
Which fish are called groupers?
As mentioned earlier, the Serranidae family also includes sea basses, so not all the serranids are known as “grouper.” The common name “grouper” is used to categorize the fish in one of two large genera – Epinephelus and Mycteroperca, but that’s not all. The species classified in the small genera Anyperodon, Cromileptes, Dermatolepis, Graciela, Saloptia, and Triso are also known as “grouper.” “Coral groupers” are the fish in the genus Plectropomus. All these genera are classified in the subfamily Epinephelinae.
There are some other genera in the subfamily Epinephelinae, as well, which are often referred to as groupers. This includes hamlets of the genus Alphestes, the lyretails of the genus Variola, the hinds of the genus Cephalopholis, and some other small genera like Gonioplectrus, Niphon, Paranthias.
Other occasional species in the serranid genera also have the common name grouper. So, it can be said that just about any fish under the subfamily Epinephelinae will be considered as a grouper.
Which fish are called bass?
A bass is a group of fish belonging to the large order Perciformes, and many freshwater, marine water, and brackish water fishes come under it. There are four families of basses. These are the Serranidae family, Moronidae family, Centrarchidae family, and Lateolabracidae family.
The Moronidae family
It is sometimes considered a subfamily of Serranidae rather than a separate family. This family consists of at least six species of freshwater, brackish water, and marine fish: Striped bass (Morone saxatilis), European bass (Dicentrarchus labrax), and the white bass (Morone chrysops) are the basses belonging to this family. They are also known as temperate basses.
The Centrarchidae family
They are also known as sunfishes. They are freshwater ray-finned fish of the genus type Centrarchus. This family includes the large and smallmouth basses, which fishermen prize. This family consists of the black basses. For example- the Choctaw bass (Micropterus haiaka), the famous largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), the Guadalupe bass (Micropterus treculii), smallmouth bass (Micropterus dolomieu), and spotted bass (Micropterus punctulatus) all belong to the sunfish family Centrarchidae.
The Lateolabracidae family
This family is often included under Moronidae as well. There is only one genus under it- the Lateolabrax genus, which is a category for commercially important fishes known as the Asian seabasses. They are native to the coastal waters of the western Pacific Ocean.
There are some other species from other families which are also known as bass. We have the Australian bass from the temperate perch family Percichthyidae (Macquaria novemaculeata). The giant sea bass (Stereolepis gigas) is a member of the wreckfish family Polyprionidae.
The temperate ocean basses called Lantern-bellies are from Acropomatidae, while the Chilean sea bass (Dissostichus eleginoides) is a member of the cod icefish family Nototheniidae. They are also known as the Patagonian toothfish. Moreover, the butterfly peacock bass (Cichla ocellaris), is a member of the cichlid family named Cichlidae!
Do groupers taste the same as bass?
Groupers and bass fish are both edible and delicious. There is a difference between both tastes, but not a terribly large one.
It is said that grouper fish has a mild yet distinct flavor. The flavor is a mixture of bass and halibut, so anyone who likes both these fish will have a feast over groupers. The taste may not vary much among different species of groupers, but there will be differences in the texture and flavor.
This more or less depends on the size, species, and harvest location. For example, the Red grouper will have a sweet and mild flavor, while the flavor of the black grouper will lean more towards the stronger, sour side. However, you should keep in mind that not all groupers are safe for consumption—especially the Goliath grouper, whose muscles have mercury glands and can lead to mercury poisoning. Luckily, in most areas, this fish is banned for harvest, but those who have eaten it have described it as a fine-tasting one.
On the other hand, bass might not be the best-tasting fish out there, but it’s still high on the list. Most bass fish do not have the overly fishy taste that throws some people off, and flavor is always on the milder side. Largemouth bass especially is very popular among fish lovers.