Professional divers in Australia have always loved watching Blue Gropers, an amazing fish that is known for it’s ability to change its sex. Interestingly this natural ability has been seldom found in the animal kingdom on the Earth. Blue Gropers that grow around three feet long and has the natural ability to get transgendered by themselves has been reported to be facing the threat of extinction. This piece is all about the the fish mystery and this mysterious fish that can change its sex.
The Blue Groper, commonly called Bluey is one of the ocean-living icons of Australian state of New South Wales. Not only their mysterious, natural ability of changing their own sex, but also their friendly nature have made these fishes one of the faves of Australian divers. SOUNDBITE (English), Bob Harcourt, Associate Professor Macquarie University said, "the blue groper is a large fish, but the really sexy thing about Blue Groper is they start off as females. We've got lots of blue groper that are small green groper and as an old male dies then the largest most dominant females turns blue and becomes male. And so one of the really cool things about these fish, is the sex ratio doesn't really vary, but it is a function of how well protected they are. If you take a lot of males out, then the females have to spend a lot of their time turning into males, which means they can't breed and they can't lay eggs." SOUNDBITE (English), Kate Lee, Researcher said, "how much time they spend in the different zones. Obviously we've come along and put down these are boundaries and put it on as a human boundary but animals don't listen to the boundaries we put. So we are looking at how much movement there is between the fished zones and the un-fished zones and if there spending a lot of time moving between the two, then obviously the reserve is going to be less effective than if they were staying in those particular zones."
Very little is actually known about the sex changing factor(s) in these fishes. What the researchers have been able to discover is that after reaching a certain age and size the female Blueys automatically get transgendered.
Interesting Facts About Mysterious Fish – Blue Groper
- Quite interestingly, although they are called Blue Groper, this mysterious fish is anot actually a Groper. Blueys actually falls in the Wrasses family.
- Blue Gropers are usually found on exposed reefs at around 0 – 40 meters depth of water. These mysterious fishes actually range between Wilsons Promontory in Victoria up the east coast to the Hervey Bay Queensland.
- Blue Groper starts off with small green color as juvenile and grows into broen or reddish. But as soon as an old male dies out, the largest and the dominant females gradually turns into blue and mysteriously becomes a big male fish.
- No Blue Gropper starts its life as a male… they always starts their life as females.
- Researchers believe that if the female population of Blueys gets increased, a female gets transgendered in to males if the male to female ratio is exceeded.
- Bluey males are quite aggressive to each other and usually one male is notice in a small school of Blue Groper females.
- Blue Groper has been reported to have an incredibly long life span of 35 years. A 10 year old Bluey can grow approximately 48cm long and can weigh around 2.4 kgs. On reaching 20 years of age a Blue Groper becomes approximately 62cm long and can weigh around 5.3 kgs and on reaching 30 years of age the Blue Gropers becomes approximately 73cm long and weighs around 8.4 kgs.
- In the year 1998, the Eastern blue groper was officially made the state fish emblem of New South Wales.