The bluestriped grunt is a member of the grunt family (Family Haemulidae) that lives on coral reefs in the Western Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Grunts derive their name because they make grunting sound with their pharylgeal teeth.
Bluestriped grunt. Source: ''Reef Fish Identification'', New World Publications © 1994
Kingdom: Animalia (Animals)
Bluestriped grunts range from 20 to 46 centimeters in length. They have a streamlined body with a forked tail and have a series of blue stripes running horizontally down their body on a yellow background. They have a dark tails and dorsal fins.
Bluestriped grunts are carnivores that feed on crustaceans, bivalves, and small fishes. They hang around the reef during the day. At sunset, they form schools that travel to foraging areas up to half a mile away following trails along the bottom. When they reach their feeding grounds, they split up and forage solitarily for the rest of the night. Before sunup, they regroup and return home.
Because they feed at night, bluestriped grunts spend their days hiding under ledges of within the braches of elkhorn coral. They sometimes form large schools on coral reefs.
Sometimes two bluestriped grunts will face each other and push one another with open mouths. Although the purpose for this behavior is unknown, it is believed to be related to either courtship or territory defense.
Bluestriped grunts are pelagic spawners. Their larvae enter the planktonic stage before settling in nursery area such as shallow back reefs or sea grass beds. When they reach maturity, they move to the reefs and join the adults. Bluestriped grunts may live for about nine to ten years.
During the day, bluestriped grunts may be found in mixed-species schools with other grunts.
The bluestriped grunt is not considered to be a species at risk.
References and Further Reading
- Encyclopedia of Life. Curator: C.Michael Hogan. 2011. Haemulon sciurus (Shaw, 1803)
- Florida Museum of Natural History. 2011. Bluestriped Grunts
- P.Humann and N.Deloach (Editor) 1994. Reef Fish Identification: Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc. Jacksonville, FL. ISBN: 1878348078
- N.Deloach. 1999. Reef Fish Behavior, Florida, Caribbean, Bahamas. New World Publications, Inc. Jacksonville, FL. ISBN: 1878348280