Sargo, Anisotremus davidsonii
The Sargo, Anisotremus davidsonii, whose common Spanish name is Sargo Rayado is a member of the Grunt or Haemulidae Family, known collectively as “burros” in Mexico.
The Sargo has an elongated body profile with a width that is 39-41% of its length. They have an overall pale dusky yellow color with a single broad black bar running from the fifth and six dorsal spines downward to the level of the pectoral base. The upper margin of the gill cover is black and there is a dark spot at the base of the pectoral fin. The second spine of the anal fin is long, the caudal fin forked, the dorsal fin is continuous but deeply notched with the fourth spine being the longest and the pectoral fins are short not reaching the anal fin origin.
The Sargo is a bottom dweller found near shore in and around rocky reefs and occasionally over sandy bottoms at depths up to 200 feet. The juveniles form schools that can be found in tidal pools. They are the largest of the grunts reaching a maximum length of 60 cm (24 inches) and 2.5 kg (6 pounds) in weight.
The Sargo can be confused with the Silvergray Grunt, Anistremus caesius (silvery yellow in color; broad black bar running from before the dorsal fin to the pectoral base). The Sargo is found along the west coast of Baja south to Todos Santos, with the southerly range established by a fish in our possession, and there are isolated populations in the Sea of Cortez.
The Sargo is viewed as marginal table fare.
Note: The Sargo was successfully introduced into the Salton Sea in the Southern California desert in 1951. However, in recent years it has declined in population with fish having now having smaller sizes and shorter life spans which are attributed to significantly declining water quality and related issues.