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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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grouper the common name usually applied to fish of the genus Epinephelus and some close relations, seems to have come into English, in the 17th century, as an adaptation of the Portuguese garoupa, which in turn may have come from a SE Asian name such as kerapu. (The explanation that these fish, although normally solitary, sometimes congregate in large groups does not seem plausible.)

The variant ‘groper’ has been in use, especially in Australasia, since the late 19th century. Confusion may be caused by the fact that Australians often use the name ‘groper’ for certain wrasses and parrotfish and apply the inappropriate names ‘rock cod’ or ‘coral cod’ to some groupers. For some species the name ‘coral trout’ is in use, for example Plectropomus leopardus, the leopard coral trout, a relatively large fish (maximum length 1.2 m/48") which has a variable but always striking coloration—the body is light red, or even orange, and largely covered with dark-edged blue spots.