What is the Difference Between a Grouper and a Shark?

There are some similarities between groupers and sharks, like the fact that they are both carnivorous and sexual dimorphous. Not to mention, they both are powerful creatures living underwater. However, there are many differences between these two species of fish, as well. They are completely different species with different roles in the ocean. Moreover, it is impossible to mistake the two for each other. The most basic difference between groupers and sharks is how they look. First of all, there are 159 known species of groupers in the world, most of which are in Florida. On the other hand, sharks have more than 1,000 species, and new ones appear yearly.

How they look

There are many different species of groupers and sharks, and they all look unique. However, there are some basic features that all groupers and sharks have. These help fishermen identify the fish that they have caught.

For groupers, it is the color of the body. Almost all groupers are dark and muddy in color because the color helps them blend better at the bottom of the ocean. Most species of grouper are bigger in size with huge mouths. They are unassuming fish that most people do not care about.

However, sharks are usually bluish grey in color and have sharp scales on their bodies for protection. Most sharks will have an asymmetrical, upturned tail, pointed fins, a pointed snout, and sharp triangular teeth. Sharks are pretty famous, as most people know about them.

Nurse shark and grouper

The rarest Species

For sharks, the rarest species is the Lost Shark or False Small-Tailed Shark. It is a possibly extinct shark species because it has not been seen in more than 80 years and is found in the southern South China Sea, but there are around 40 adult sharks, according to the IUCN Red List.

The rarest species of grouper is the Goliath grouper. It is a huge fish that lives at the bottom of the ocean and minds its business. These fish also have a very long lifespan, and they can live for hundreds of years.

The nutritional difference between grouper and shark

Not all groupers or sharks are edible for human consumption, but there are many species of groupers and sharks that are edible. Red grouper and black grouper are famous fish that are eaten by humans. Similarly, porbeagles, shortfin mako sharks, requiem sharks, and thresher sharks are some of the shark species that are famously consumed.

Typically, sharks are better for human consumption nutritionally. This is because sharks are high in vitamin B12, vitamin B3, vitamin B6, phosphorus, monounsaturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat. In fact, sharks have 37% higher daily Vitamin B12 coverage compared to groupers. This vitamin is important for red blood cell formation, cell metabolism, nerve function, and the production of DNA.

On the other hand, groupers have three times more potassium compared to sharks in 100 grams of fish fillet. Groupers have 483mg of potassium for every 100 grams of fish, and sharks have 160mg of potassium for 100 grams of fish. Potassium is essential for your nerves to function and for muscles to contract. In addition, it helps your heartbeat stay regular and helps move nutrients into cells and waste products out of cells. Therefore, nutritionally, both groupers and sharks fulfill vastly different demands. Nevertheless, both these fish can be very healthy when eaten in moderation.

Calories in groupers and shark

If you are trying to lose weight and want to replace meat with fish, the fish with the least calories are groupers. This makes them a very popular replacement for highly rich fish and meat. The fats in grouper are around 1 g for 100 grams of fish, whereas sharks have 4.5 g of fat in 100 grams of the fillet. Similarly, calories for 100 grams of grouper are 92kcal, whereas for sharks, for the same amount of meat, the calories are 130kcal. Groupers also do not have as much mercury as sharks, making them a safer alternative.

The taste of groupers and sharks

Taste-wise, the two fish are very different as well. All species of groupers usually taste similar, but other sharks taste different. The taste of groupers is very mild. It is slightly sweet, and the meat is firm. The red grouper is more famous and has sweeter meat than the black grouper, which is much rarer as well. The mild taste of grouper makes it suitable to take up many flavors when cooked. Groupers, on the whole, are not that famous compared to other fish.

When it comes to shark meat, many people say it tastes like a cross between chicken and alligator meat. It also has a sweet and mild flavor, like groupers. If you did not know any better, you would be unable to differentiate between shark meat and other fish meat. It is much rarer to eat shark as it takes more steps to prepare the shark because it is very high in mercury and urea. Both groupers and sharks are not the most popular seafood, but in many parts of the world, they are considered delicacies. You might not like how they taste, but it would be an experience to eat either one of them. 


Groupers and sharks are completely different species that usually are never confused with each other. They look different, have different nutritional values, and taste different too. They are both not eaten much and carnivorous, so there are a few similarities between them. Regardless, hopefully, now you will know how to differentiate between sharks and groupers if you ever need to. Both of them are powerful species that are usually at the top of the food chain.

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