Broomtail Grouper, Mycteroperca xenarcha
The Broomtail Grouper, Mycteroperca xenarcha, whose common Spanish name is Cabrilla Plomuda, is a member of the Grouper or Epinephelidae Family, known collectively known as “cabrillas” and “garropas” in Mexico.
The Broomtail Grouper is light-brown with elongated dark brown blotches with white centers (giving them the appearance of “lipstick kiss marks”) covering the elongated, robust and compressed body. They have a projecting lower jaw with prominent canine teeth and the gill covers are notched and strongly serrated. The second to seventh dorsal spines are of equal length, a key to identification. The caudal fin has a jagged rear edge for which it receives its common name.
The Broomtail Grouper are found associated with reefs, rocky areas and mangrove estuaries at depths up to 225 feet. They reach a maximum length of 150 cm (59 inches) and are up to 45.4 kg (100 pounds) in weight. They are found in all Mexican waters of the Pacific with the exception of the northern third of the Sea of Cortez. Although they are widespread they are not abundant and there is limited behavioral information available.
The Broomtail Grouper is most likely confused with the Gulf Grouper, Mycteroperca jordani (fourth and fifth dorsal spines longest) and the Goldspotted Sand Bass, Paralabrax auroguttatus (very long third dorsal spine).
The Broomtail Grouper is an important fish in the Sea of Cortez. They are considered to be an excellent food fish, a prime target of the sportfishing industry and sold commercially.