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article imageGulp! Hungry grouper eats shark in one bite

By Megan Hamilton     Aug 22, 2014 in Odd News
Bonita Springs - Most people likely believe that sharks are the most dangerous fish in the ocean. Apparently the goliath grouper featured in this video didn't get this memo.
It did, however surprise the heck out the people in the boat who'd hooked a four-foot-long blacktip shark.
The video starts out like this:
The shark and grouper circle each other. Then the shark gets caught on a fisherman's line,while the grouper swims in the depths belowYahoo! reports.
Cue the frightening movie music.
Suddenly, the huge grouper rises to the surface and gulps the shark whole — as if it were a bite-sized snack. Then the big fish just swims off with lunch.
Clearly shocked, the anglers in the boat couldn't contain their amazement, per The Daily Mail.
"Oh my god! Oh my god, did he just eat it?"
"It just grabbed a freakin' ...shark!"
Baryl Martin, spokersperson for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission told ABC News that groupers are opportunity feeders that can grow to weigh 800 pounds.
"They are large predators and they eat large preys," Martin said. "They can appear anywhere from 10 feet under the water to much deeper."
The fact that this one ambitious fish snagged a shark isn't the only thing that's interesting about this big critter. As it turns out, this fish can change from female to male — no surgery required.
The New England Aquarium reports that groupers reach sexual maturity as a female. Then after a few years, the female transforms into a male. Scientists think that this transformation is spurred when the fish is the right age and is in a group of other groupers that are ready to spawn and there are few males around. Once the fish makes this transformation, it's permanent.
This may seem odd, but there are benefits to doing this. Growing eggs takes a lot of energy. Younger fish that are healthy and strong have an easier time doing this, while on the other fin, larger fish that have survived and toughed out the demands of living in a predator-filled ocean will fertilize the eggs as males. This leads to stronger populations.
What’s the advantage of having this life cycle? The energy-consuming task of growing eggs is left to the younger fish that are healthy and strong while the larger fish that have proven their ability to survive can fertilize the eggs as males. It's a good way to keep populations strong through genetics!
When they are ready to mate, the big fish gather in spawning groups. The females lay eggs that float to the surface after being fertilized. Then the tiny eggs float with the currents for 40 to 60 days, per the Aquarium, arriving at the nursery grounds just as the tiny fish begin to hatch. These small groupers make their way to the sea bed hiding in sea grasses and mangroves until they get larger, and they remain in the nursery for up to six years. When they are large enough, they move offshore to join the adults in coral reefs.
Where perhaps they wait to ambush sharks and startle fishermen. It is, after all, a real grouper eats shark world.
More about Goliath grouper, Shark, Daily mail, ABC News
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