It is a Giant Grouper I am guessing Epinephelus lanceolatus
I remember Neil telling me some years ago that he has seen these guys up close off Bombay High while diving.
It is also called Brindle Bass, Brown Spotted Codand Queensland Grouper. I am not sure if you can apply the common name Goliath Grouper to this one, perhaps you can but that name is reserved for the Atlantic Goliath Grouper Epinephelus itajara and the Pacific Goliath Grouper Epinephelus quinquefasciatus
From what I have read, a comission decided to reserve the common name Goliath Grouper to the latter two species.
For those who are interested, quoting this from a recent paper on study of Goliath Groupers and Napolean Wrasses, published in August 2009:
A recent surge in the detection of cryptic species, enhanced by modern genetic techniques, has confirmed the suspicion that global biodiversity is severely underestimated. Among terrestrial mega-fauna, new species discovery is primarily the product of understudied regions of the globe, while micro-fauna in both marine and terrestrial environments are often overlooked due to their small size and apparent similarity. In marine systems, however, there are new species being discovered amongst the ocean’s largest and most charismatic species. One of the most recent examples of this phenomenon is among the largest of the reef fishes, the Goliath grouper, Epinephelus itajara (Family Epinephelidae).
Despite its disjunct, amphi-American and West African distribution, E. itajara shows a remarkable absence of morphological variation and has been recognized as a single species. We tested the hypothesis that these disjunct populations of Goliath grouper are one species by analyzing DNA sequences taken from specimens collected in the eastern Pacific (Panama), and both major biogeographic provinces within the tropical West Atlantic – the Caribbean Sea (Belize and Florida) and coastal Brazil.
We found little absolute genetic difference between Caribbean and Brazilian populations of goliath grouper despite the fact that they are separated by 1000’s of kilometers and a major biogeographic barrier (the Amazon/Orinoco outflow). However, contrary to accepted taxonomy, we found a high number of fi xed genetic differences between Pacific and West Atlantic populations of Goliath grouper at both mitochondrial and nuclear loci. These supposedly conspecific populations represented reciprocally monophyletic clades when analyzed using a variety of tree-building algorithms, and showed genetic divergence (~3.5 % at 16S and ~6.0 % at cytochrome b; three fixed nucleotide differences at the nuclear S7 intron) equivalent to that between other grouper sister species that are readily identifiable based on morphology.
We also found an unexpected level of population subdivision among West-Atlantic samples. Given the presumed dispersal potential of Goliath Grouper larvae, coupled with the lack of readily identifiable barriers to dispersal, our expectation was that of one large, homogenous population.
Instead, we found that each population sampled in this area (Belize, Brazil, and Florida) showed statistically significant differences in mitochondrial haplotype frequency. Previously, goliath grouper populations separated by the Isthmus of Panama were not considered as distinct species, as to do so would have relied on a species concept born
out of convenience: the “geopolitical species concept” (sensu Karl and Bowen, 1999). Geopolitical species are “…groups of individuals [that are] confined to geographically or politically defined areas and [that] are accorded species status independent of morphological, genetic, and reproductive criteria” (Karl and Bowen, 1999).
In light of the present data, we now have a diagnosable set of nucleotide characters and an expectation of reproductive isolation that has been maintained for millions of years to continue for a considerably long future, both of which provide evidence that these populations are moving along independent evolutionary trajectories and should be recognized independently.
The resolution for the taxonomic status of goliath grouper species is straightforward:
The type locality for E. itajara (Lichtenstein 1822) is Brazil (holotype, as Serranus itajara, ZMB 238), thus the Atlantic populations would retain this name with priority. The oldest available name for an eastern Pacific population is Epinephelus quinquefasciatus Bocourt 1868 (type locality Pacifi c coast of Guatemala; holotype, as Serranus quinquefasciatus, MNHN 0000-5211). It was thus recommended, following the rules of the ICZN, that this name be applied to Pacific populations of goliath grouper. Common names of Atlantic goliath grouper and Pacific goliath grouper, respectively, should be used.