What Is the Difference Between Grouper and Wahoo?

Both grouper and wahoo are fish that are eaten and are seen as delicacies. If you want to catch or get to know either of them, you should know the differences between grouper and wahoo fish.

First, these two fish belong to different families and look entirely different. Their habitats might overlap, but they are found in other ocean parts. There are many differences between a grouper and a wahoo.

Red Grouper illustration
Red Grouper illustration

What Are All the Differences Between a Grouper and a Wahoo?

To start, the grouper fish belongs to the family Serranidae and the subfamily Epinephelinae. On the other hand, the wahoo fish, also known as Acanthocybium solandri, is a scombrid fish that belongs to the family Scombridae.

Many more things are unique between a grouper and a wahoo. They are all listed below.

The appearance

Let’s start with what a grouper looks like. They have robust and rounded fish with a head often more prominent than the rest of the body. Also, the lower jaw is usually extended outward compared to the upper jaw. The pelvic and anal fins are sharp, but their dorsal fins are soft and located at the back of the body. When it comes to color, they are very darkly colored in greens and browns, with some exceptions, such as the Nassau grouper.

The wahoo grouper is an elongated fish with a large mouth lined with razor-sharp teeth. The most noticeable feature is its appearance. It has a shiny silver and iridescent blue color. The back of the fish is iridescent blue, while the sides are silvery with a pattern of irregular, vertical blue bars. The color of their bodies fades rapidly after they die, and the fish can also change color if they are excited or hunting prey.

The habitat

The grouper has over 100 species within its family. Groupers are found all over the world in various habitats. You will discover grouper in freshwater, saltwater, and even salty water. In water areas, they can occupy different levels as well. The goliath grouper is usually found in shallower water near corals. Nassau groupers are found near corals. These fish can be found in various waterways, but saltwater is the main area.

When it comes to the wahoo grouper, it is not a rare fish and has a significant habitat. These fish are in all oceans, namely the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans. Because these are cold-blooded fish, they prefer warmer and shallower water and are not found near shorelines.

The size

The grouper fish is known to be very large and weigh a lot, especially the goliath grouper. If we talk about the Goliath grouper, it is over eight feet long and weighs around 800 pounds. Of course, not all fish reach this size. However, since most groupers have a long lifespan, they keep growing. A grouper can live for 10 to 20 years, and the whole time, it can keep growing bigger and bigger. Of course, not all fish live for long as predators hunt them.

The wahoo fish is also relatively large. The biggest recorded wahoo fish was over eight feet long and weighed 183 pounds. This is a large fish but compared to the total size of a goliath grouper, it is still smaller. Not to mention, most wahoo fish do not reach this size. Unlike grouper fish, the wahoo fish has a short lifespan of around two years.


The reproduction method

The grouper fish usually has a unique reproduction method, so some species, like the goliath grouper, are concerned species. This fish is known as a monandric protogynous hermaphrodite, which means that the fish is only born female and can change sex after reaching maturity. Not all groupers are like this, but a lot of them are. The male fish has a harem of around 15 female fish, which mate in pairs.

On the other hand, the wahoo fish are rapid breeders, and they are the least concerned species. However, there isn’t much information about their reproduction, but scientists know that their spawning season is long. The female fish can release millions of eggs, then the male fish releases sperm, fertilizing the eggs externally. The fish reproduces several times in one spawning season.

The nutritional value

A 100-gram fillet of grouper has calories, 118, and 25 grams of protein. The fish has 1.3 grams of fat and contains vitamins and minerals. The fillet has vitamin B6 and iron, so it is also good for your health. The grouper is low in calories compared to other fish.

The calories in wahoo fish are slightly high, and a 100-gram fillet has 167 calories. The fish has less protein at 19 grams and 9.4 grams of fat. Just like most fish, it is high in vitamins and minerals.

The taste

The grouper fish is very slightly sweet and has a firm flake. The red grouper is said to be sweeter than the black grouper, but the black grouper has more meat. The fish’s skin is inedible but perfect for absorbing flavors or marinades.

The wahoo fish is also a mild-tasting fish with a firm, lean texture, and large, circular flake. A grilled fillet of wahoo fish is said to taste like chicken, and it does not have a fishy taste. Fish is a delicacy, and most people love its meat.


Both grouper and wahoo are different fishes with different appearances, habitats, sizes, tastes, and much more. Hopefully, now you know their differences and can decide which is your favorite.

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