The Tahiti Traveler

Camouflage Grouper : The mysterious ballet of unique reproduction

This is a story of an extraordinary nuptial parade. A unique annual rendezvous to which marbled groupers, also called camouflage groupers, owe their survival. The opportunity for patient and lucky divers to be there at the right moment for a sensational exploration.

The ritual is so mysterious and impressive. And that’s what makes it so captivating. We do not know why, we hardly know how, but we know that each year during the full moon of June and with a metronomic regularity, thousands of individuals meet in several passes only of the Tuamotu archipelago. A unique phenomenon in the world, attracting all the species around by this mysterious nuptial dance…

All the fauna in trans

The parade lasts only a few hours, but a few hours of intense activity in passes already famous among the fish filled places in the world … In Fakarava, Rangiroa or Ahe, we observe, at the same time, the females spiking towards the surface to free their eggs. Below, just as many males, abundant and punctual, having responded to this mysterious invitation that scientists have still not deciphered, to fertilize the thousands of eggs dispersed in scattered clouds!

If spawning and fertilizing eggs is a performance in itself, it is a general frenzy that wins the pass during the grouper’s breeding ritual making this wedding surreal. For a few hours, a camouflage grouper, of solitary nature, attracts all the fauna of the pass. Just before the outbreak of hostilities, riflemen arrive by the hundreds. Followed closely by all the sharks of the pass. Lemons, black tips, white tips, gray sharks … not one is missing … and everyone wants their part of the treat. For a diver, patient enough and lucky to be there at this very moment, it is a guaranteed treat, a magic show, of which only the Tuamotu archipelago keeps the secret …