grunt, common name for members of the family Haemulidae, carnivorous fish of warm seas, most species of which are small and brightly colored. They are sound-producers, creating their noises by grinding their pharyngeal teeth together. Croakers , which belong to another family, are also sound-producing fish. Grunts are bottom-feeders with large mouths vividly colored in red or orange on the inside. The common, or white, grunt is a favorite food fish found on shallow sandy bottoms from the West Indies to the Carolinas; it averages 1 ft (30 cm) in length and 1 lb (.5 kg) in weight. The many species abundant off the Florida coasts include the margate, blue-striped, and gray grunts and the colorful porkfish, with a blue-striped yellow body and black head-bands. The California sargo is common along the Pacific coast and the commercially important pigfish is found from Long Island Sound to Texas. Grunts are classified in the phylum Chordata , subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, family Haemulidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Vertebrate Zoology