* Grunt Family Photos and Information – Haemulidae

The Grunt Family

Burrito Grunt, Anisotremus interruptus, a representative member of the Haemulidae Family.
Burrito Grunt, Anisotremus interruptus, a representative member of the Haemulidae Family.

The fish of the Grunt or Haemulidae Family are known in Mexico’s fishing areas as “Burros”. They are similar in appearance to snappers but can be distinguished by their lack of canine and vomerine teeth and by the presence of pits on their chins. When collected, these fish grunt audibly by rubbing together tooth plates in their throats.

Most Grunts are small schooling fish that swarm over reefs during the day and move to sandy shoals at night. They have oblong or elongated oval bodies of varying widths. I have included the width as a percentage of standard length, which varies from 30% to 50%, for each Grunt included in this website. This can be used as an important parameter to aid in the identification of unknown fish. The majority of Grunts caught by hook and line are less than 30 cm (12 inches) in length and less than 500 grams (one pound) in weight. They feed primarily at night on benthic invertebrates such as shrimp, clams, and polychaetes worms. The stripes of juveniles are more prominent than those of adults.

Globally, 137 species of Grunts from 19 genera have been identified, many of them hard to differentiate. In Mexican fishing waters, there are reports that as many as 25 different kinds of Grunts reside in the Sea of Cortez alone.

The members of the Grunt Family found in Mexican waters and represented in the fish identification section of this website include:

Blackbarred GruntGenyatremus dovii
Bluestriped GruntHaemulon sciurus
Brassy Grunt
Microlepidotus brevipinnis
Bronzestriped Grunt, Orthopristis reddingi
Burrito GruntAnisotremus interruptus
Cortez GruntHaemulon flaviguttatum
Elongate Grunt, Haemulopsis elongatus
French Grunt, Haemulon flavolineatum
Graybar GruntHaemulon sexfasciatum
Humpback Grunt, Orthopristis chalceus
Latin GruntHaemulon steindachneri
Longfin SalemaXenichthys xanti
Mojarra GruntHaemulon scudderii
Panamic GruntPomadasys panamensis
Panamic PorkfishAnisotremus taeniatus
PorkfishAnisotremus virginicus
Raucous GruntHaemulopsis leuciscus
Sand GruntPomadasys branickii
Sailors Choice, Haemulon parra
SalemaHaemulon californiensis
SargoAnisotremus davidsonii
Silvergray GruntAnisotremus caesius
Spottail Grunt, Haemulon maculicauda
Tomtate, Haemulon aurolineatum
Wavyline GruntMicrolepidotus inornatus
White GruntHaemulon plumierii
Yellowstripe GruntHaemulopsis axillaris

Grunt Body Width