Bluestriped Grunt (Haemulon sciurus)

Bluestriped Grunt (Haemulon sciurus)

Frequently used as an aquarium fish when young because of its magnificent coloring, the bluestriped grunt is also considered an excellent table fish and is easily caught on natural bait.

Identification

The bluestriped grunt is distinguished from all other grunts by its color pattern of continuous blue horizontal stripes over a yellow-gold body. The tail and the dorsal fins are dark and dusky with a yellow tinge. Other fins are yellow. The inside of its mouth is blood red. It has 12 dorsal spines, 16 to 17 dorsal rays, and 9 anal rays.

Size

Its average length is up to 1 foot, but it can reach as much as 18 inches in length.


Behavior

A schooling fish, the bluestriped grunt gathers in medium-size groups along reefs during the day. Scaring easily, the grunt will swim away quickly when slightly startled.

Feeding habits

Adults feed on the bottom at night over open sandy, muddy, or grassy areas, primarily foraging on crustaceans. They also consume bivalves and occasionally small fish.

Other Names

Spanish: ronco catire.

Distribution

The bluestriped grunt is common from southern Florida through the Caribbean to the West Indies and southward along the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast of Central and South America to Brazil.

Habitat

The bluestriped grunt drifts along reefs, especially near the deep edges. It remains relatively close to the shore in shallow water from 12 to 50 feet deep. Juveniles are found in seagrass beds in bays, lagoons, and coastal waters.
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