True to its name, this almond-shaped fish has series of horizontal blue stripes running along its bright yellow sides. It can be found on reefs throughout the western Atlantic, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, where it forms schools with members of its species as well as other grunts. Members of the grunt family get their name from the grunting sound they produce. Often compared to the noises made by pigs, these fish grunt by grinding together their teeth.
  • Size

    18 inches (46 cm)
  • Diet

    Crustaceans, bivalves and occasionally on small fishes
  • Range

    Western Atlantic from Florida to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea
  • Habitat

    Coral and rocky reefs and drop-offs

Physical Characteristics

Size

  • Reaches a maximum length of about 18 inches (46 cm). The maximum published weight is 1.7 lbs. (750 g).

Body Composition

  • Has a yellow head and body with narrow horizontal blue stripes along the head and length of its body. It has a blue stripe under the eye that has a distinctive arch. Its dorsal fin is spiny and yellow.

Color

  • The caudal, or tail, fin is black, which easily distinguishes it from the similar appearing French grunt, whose tail is yellow.

 

Animal Fact

The bluestriped grunt frequently steals the eggs of damselfish

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists of crustaceans, bivalves and occasionally on small fishes.

Range / Habitat

Range

  • Occurs in the Western Atlantic from Florida to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.
  • Depth range of about 100 feet (30 m).

Habitat

  • Found over coral and rocky reefs and drop-offs.
  • Juveniles are abundant in Thalassia – or turtle grass – sea grass beds.

Conservation Status

  • “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • Congregates in small to midsized schools that are usually found near drop-offs and reefs, which provide structural protection.
  • Schooling behavior is believed to confuse predators, protecting as many fish as possible within the school.
  • Inactive schools seen during the day are taking a rest from the long nights of searching for food.
  • Will hover in mid-water at cleaning stations. Observed opening its mouth to be cleaned by juvenile porkfish.
  • The bluestriped grunt is a frequent thief of damselfish eggs.

Sources

  • Reef Fish Behavior. Human, P. and Deloach, N., pgs. 44, 106, 107, 202
  • Reef Fish Identification. Human, P. and Deloach, N., pg. 92
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