* 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 the standard length, which vary from 30% to 50%, for each Grunt included in this website which is an important parameter to aide in the identification of an 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 in 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 Grunt, Genyatremus dovii
Bluestriped Grunt, Haemulon sciurus
Brassy Grunt
, Microlepidotus brevipinnis
Burrito Grunt, Anisotremus interruptus
Cortez Grunt, Haemulon flaviguttatum
Elongate Grunt, Haemulopsis elongatus
Graybar Grunt, Haemulon sexfasciatum
Humpback Grunt, Orthopristis chalceus
Latin Grunt, Haemulon steindachneri
Longfin Salema, Xenichythys xanti
Mojarra Grunt, Haemulon scudderii
Panamic Grunt, Pomadasys panamensis
Panamic Porkfish, Anisotremus taeniatus
Porkfish, Anisotremus virginicus
Raucous Grunt, Haemulopsis leuciscus
Sand Grunt, Pomadasys branickii
Salema, Haemulon californiensis
Sargo, Anisotremus davidsonii
Silvergray Grunt, Anisotremus caesius
Spottail Grunt, Haemulon maculicauda
Tomtate, Haemulon aurolinaeatum
Wavyline Grunt, Microlepidotus inornatus
White Grunt, Haemulon plumierii
Yellowstripe Grunt, Haemulopsis axillaris