Atlantic Porkfish, Porkfish
Burro Payaso
(Anisotremus virginicus)

Atlantic Porkfish, Anisotremus virginicus: The Atlantic Porkfish, a nocturnal species, is very easy to identify and is characterized by its deep body with a blunt snout and a small mouth positioned low on the head with thick lips.

The Atlantic Porkfish has a unique coloration pattern with yellow and silvery stripes and two black bars. One bar runs diagonally from above the eye to the mouth while the other is more vertical, beginning at the anterior edge of the dorsal fin and running to the base of the pectoral fin.

All of the fins of this fish species are yellow. The caudal fin is notched.

This fish species is the only grunt occurring in the Atlantic Ocean that has a yellow coloration and two black stripes. It reaches a maximum length of 15 inches and a maximum weight of 2 pounds.

It is a shallow inshore fish species generally found around inshore rocky reefs and caves in the first 75 feet of the water column. It is an Atlantic Ocean-only species. It is easily confused with the Panamic Porkfish, Anisotremus taeniatus (a Pacific Ocean-only species with only subtle genetic differences). It might also be confused with the Blue and Gold Snapper, Lutjanus viridis, and the Long Fin Grunt, Anisotremus caesius (both lack the prominent black line through the eye and both have more aerodynamic bodies).

Distribution in Mexico fishing areas

In Mexican fishing waters, the Atlantic Porkfish has a limited range, being found only along the coast of the mainland in the Gulf of Mexico. There, it is preyed upon by snappers, groupers, sharks and other large piscivores. It is of minor commercial value but is considered a good game fish.

The Atlantic Porkfish is a member of the Grunt or Haemulidae family which are known in Mexico as burros and roncos.

Atlantic Porkfish picture

Atlantic Porkfish, Anisotremus virginicus: Commercially caught fish, courtesy of Soriana’s Mercado, Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, Mexico, March 2009. Size 12 inches. Description and photo courtesy of John Snow.

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