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Potato cod - More like a Cod than a potato


Description

Identified by the large, potato-like dark blotches on its body, the potato cod is mainly found in deep reef channels and seamounts, in current prone areas; juveniles may be found in tide pools.
Is one of the largest fish species in the Serranidae family that includes the Cods and Gropers.
The Potato Cod (Epinephelus tukula) is one of the most recognisable fish species and is a very popular fish with scuba divers.

 

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The body is coloured white to grey and has large black blotches covering it all over. It is generally a solitary species and can be found on coral reefs from depths of 5 to 150 metres.
This species can become rather placid towards divers and at several locations along the Great Barrier Reef this species is fed by divers on a regular basis.
The best known location to see the Potato Cod is the Cod Hole located off Lizard Island in the northern part of the Great Barrier Reef. It is a bold and inquisitive species and will often swim up to divers hoping for a free feed.
The Potato Cod (Epinephelus tukula) grows to a maximum length of approximately 2 metres and can weigh up to 100kgs. 

 

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The fins have prominent spines and small dark spots, and the caudal fin is more rounded in young than in adults.
The potato cod has 11 spines running along its back, as well as 3 spines on its rear. Its large mouth contains canines and several rows of backward-folding teeth.



Habitat
Even the Potato Cod has been fished out of most locations however it can be found in mostly tropical waters, from the Red Sea and east Africa to the Great Barrier in Australia, south to Townsville (Queensland, Australia) to the waters of southern Japan, Red Sea, Seychelles, Comores and western Mascarenes east to New Guinea.
The fish is found mainy in the Pacific and Indian oceans. They prefer to stay in reef areas however as a juvenile the fish abides in reef tide pools.




Diet
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.





Breeding
Potato cods reach maturity at lengths of around 90 centimetres, and although most adult fish are solitary, courtship displays and pairing occur during the breeding season.
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.






Interesting facts
• The potato cod gets its scientific name Epinephelus from the Latin word meaning ‘clouded over’, and tukula for ‘maneater’, which refers to its ferocity.
• The Potato Rockcod can grow to an alarming 2m in length, with a weight of about 100kg.









Sources :
http://www.scuba-equipment-usa.com/marine/MAR05/Potato_Cod(Epinephelus_tukula).html
https://www.facebook.com/
http://eol.org/pages/211986/details
http://www.getintravel.com/great-barrier-reef-australia-the-worlds-most-extensive-coral-reef-system/giant-potato-cod-epinephelus-tukula-swimming-on-great-barrier-reef-australia/
http://www.mikeball.com/report/419
http://www.iamsharkbait.com/hart/Great%20Barrier%20Reef%20&%20Coral%20Sea%202010/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/rling/438038729/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpmckenna/6716835023/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/28365950@N03/7343716160/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nogu69/5030138892/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/nogu69/5030164910/
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