Contact Us Blog Shop
DiscoveryNews.  Analysis by Rossella Lorenzi . Tue Sep 13, 2011 02:26 PM ET

The dusky grouper, one of the major predators in the Mediterranean sea, used to be so large in antiquity that it was portrayed as a “sea monster,” a new study into ancient depictions of the endangered fish has revealed.

This ancient Roman mosaic from the Bardo National Museum in Tunis shows a giant grouper swollowing a fisherman. Courtesy of Giorces/Creative Commons.

“Amazingly, ancient mosaic art has provided important information to reconstruct this fish’s historical baseline,” Paolo Guidetti of the University of Salento in Italy, told Discovery News.

Considered one of the most flavorful species among the Mediterranean fish, the dusky grouper (Epinephelus marginatus) is a large, long-lived, slow-growing, protogynous hermaphrodite fish (with sex reversal from female to male). It can be found mainly in the Mediterranean, the African west coast and the coast of Brazil.

Read more: