‘Fish are friends, not food”. Well, not so much for this man-made hybrid grouper. The amazing fish shown above is the result of a cross between the Panther grouper and the Bumblebee grouper (Cromileptes altivelis X Epinephelus lanceolatus). Bred for the sole purpose of food fish, the offspring is supposedly a combination of the delicious meat from the Panther grouper, and the large size of the Bumblebee grouper. The result, a larger, more tasty fish for consumption. Tucked away in a secluded corner of New Trio Fisheries in Singapore, a small group of juveniles were being raised for many months away from the general public. It was only until recently, during Aquarama, that this fish gained the attention that it deserves. The scarcity of grouper hybrids makes the Panther X Bumblebee grouper a worthy contender to other rare species like the Football Grouper and the Neptune Grouper.
A smokey silhouette just beneath water caught the eye of Ohm Pavaphon, a fellow fish enthusiast and photographer from Thailand. Needless to say, the excitement materialized into determination as we tried to catch it out of it’s murky home. The netted fish revealed it’s stunning pearly white body marbled in black blotches; a phenotypic trait that quite obviously showcases both the parents’ genes. The fish was the last one there and Ohm took it back with him to Thailand. We’re glad to mention that the fish made it’s way back in top form, and is now happily residing in a fish-only tank. That’s at least one Panther x Bumblebee grouper hybrid that will not end up on the dinner table.
A special thanks to Ohm for the photo of the hybrid grouper.