Relatively little is known about the major life history characteristics of the potato cod (3) (7), also known as the potato grouper (1). However, grouper fish in general share many life history traits that may be relevant to this species. Grouper fish habitually spawn offshore, on sea shelves approximately 30 metres deep, or up to 70 metres deep at the edge of coral reefs. Pelagic larvae are transported from spawning sites to inshore nursery grounds where they then settle as juveniles. Later in the life cycle juveniles join adult populations offshore where they move between different habitats (8).
Grouper fish are slow to mature, spawn in groups and exhibit irreversible sex change under certain conditions (8). Potato cods reach maturity at lengths of around 90 centimetres (3) (6), and although most adult fish are solitary, courtship displays and pairing occur during the breeding season (3).
The potato cod’s diet consists of a variety of reef fish, crabs, crayfish and skates. This species ambushes its prey, which it generally then captures following a short chase. It is an aggressive and territorial species that is known for its highly inquisitive behaviour. The potato cod is often a nuisance to divers due to its tendency to approach and tamper with their gear and catch. Its large size and behaviour make this species a dominant predator within its habitat (3).
Potato cod often encourage cleaner wrasse (Labroides species) to feed on parasites that become attached to their scales (9).