Western Blue Groper

Achoerodus Gouldi
Western Blue Grouper - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Achoerodus Gouldi
Other names Blue Groper, Gould's Wrasse , Western Blue Wrasse
Size Up to 1.75 m (5.74 ft)
Weight Up to 40 kg (88 lb)


Habitat & AU Distribution Coastal & oceanic waters amongst inshore/offshore reefs
Depth Range 1 - 20 m (66 ft)
Western Blue Groper Distribution

Interesting Info

  • Western Blue Groupers can be found along the western and southern coasts of Australia, ranging from Western Australia to South Australia.
  • Adult males have a vibrant blue colour with yellow markings on their heads and electric blue lines on their bodies. Females and juveniles have a more subdued coloration, with pale blue or greenish-grey hues.
  • The Western Blue Groper is a carnivorous fish that primarily feeds on marine invertebrates, such as crustaceans and molluscs, as well as small reef fish.
  • They have strong jaws and sharp teeth that allow them to feed on hard-shelled invertebrates like crabs and shellfish. They use their jaws to crush and break open their prey.
  • Western Blue Groupers have a unique ability to change their coloration and patterns slightly to match their surroundings. This adaptation helps them blend into the rocky reef environment and provides a measure of camouflage against potential predators.
  • They are known to have strong territorial instincts, defending their preferred feeding and breeding areas. They can establish long-term residence in specific locations, which makes them reliable subjects for long-term research and monitoring.
  • This species exhibits a unique and interesting breeding behaviour. They are protogynous hermaphrodites, which means they start their lives as females and later change sex to become males. Most individuals are born as females, and as they mature and reach a certain size (around 40 centimetres or 16 inches), they transition into males.
  • The breeding season for this species generally occurs from late winter to early spring, between August and November. During this time, the males develop a distinct hump on their forehead and display vibrant courtship colours to attract females.
  • The female Western Blue Groper releases eggs into the water, and the male fertilises them externally. The eggs then float freely until they hatch into larvae, which eventually settle and develop into juvenile fish.
  • They are a long lived species with a estimated lifespan up to 50 years or more in the wild.
Species Interaction

Recreational Fishing, Snorkeling & Diving

The Western Blue Groper is not specifically targeted for recreational fishing due to its protected status, there are instances where individuals may be caught unintentionally by anglers targeting other species. In such cases, it is crucial to handle them with care and release them back into the water unharmed. Despite their size, Western Blue Groupers are generally docile and curious fish. They are known to approach divers and snorkelers, making them a popular species for underwater observation.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Labridae

Genus: Achoerodus

Species: Achoerodus Gouldi

Conservation Status

The Western Blue Groper is listed as a protected species in Australia. Its conservation status is considered “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List, which means that overall, the species is not facing significant threats to its population. However, specific regulations and protections are in place to ensure the sustainability of their populations and protect their habitats.

Fish Taste Quality

Western Blue Groper are a protected species in Australia and should not be eaten.

Taste Rating: NA

How to catch
Western Blue Groper

Catch Difficulty: Difficult

Tackle: Running Sinker Rig

Bait: Crab, Fresh cut flesh baits, Pilchards, Prawns, Shellfish, Squid, Worms

Technique: Keep bait close to the reef/structure

Popularity: Not targeted - Bycatch

Recreational Viewing
- Snorkeling & Scuba

Finding: Easy

Temperament: Curious

Location: Inner Reef, Outer Reef, Lagoon

Danger: None

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