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Blue striped grunt facts for kids

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Blue striped grunt
Blue Stripe Grunt. Haemulon sciurus.jpg
Scientific classification
Genus:
Haemulon
Species:
sciurus
Synonyms
  • Sparus sciurus G. Shaw 1803

The blue striped grunt (Haemulon sciurus), bluestriped grunt, red mouth grunt, or firemouth grunt, is a subtropical species of grunt native to the western Atlantic Ocean. It was described by the English naturalist George Shaw in 1803.

Its common name comes from its blue stripes and from its habit of grunting by grinding its pharyngeal teeth. The swim bladder, acting as a resonator, amplifies this sound.

Description

The blue striped grunt commonly grows to a length of 20 to 25 cm (8 to 10 inches), and its maximum recorded length is 46 cm (18 inches). The maximum reported age is 12 years. It can weigh up to 750 grams.

The head and the body are yellow with many narrow, horizontal blue stripes. The stripe under the eye has a characteristic arch. There is one yellow dorsal fin with 12 dorsal spines and 16-17 dorsal soft rays. The anal fin is dusky yellow. It has three anal spines and nine anal soft rays. The soft dorsal and caudal fins are blackish. The scales above the lateral line are enlarged, while the scales below are oblique.

Distribution and habitat

The blue striped grunt is found in mangroves, seagrass beds, dropoffs and coral reefs at depths up to 30 meters. Its range includes the Western Atlantic, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean down to Brazil.

Behavior

Blue striped grunt
Blue Striped Grunts in Belize

The fish travels in schools with the smaller French grunt (H. flavolineatum), a close relative. Up to 1,000 grunts can form a school. The schools generally cruise near coral.

The diet consists mainly of shrimp. It may also eat annelids, bivalves, and crustaceans.

Predators of the grunt are larger piscivorous fish, such as sharks.

Human uses

The blue striped grunt is edible and quite good, like many other grunt species. However, it is one of the smaller grunt species, with an average length of 10". There have been reports of ciguatera poisoning from consumption of this fish. Due to the small size, and chances of carrying ciguatera, it is only of minor commercial importance. When it is available, it is marketed fresh. Recreational and commercial anglers typically use this fish for bait.

Blue striped grunts are also valued as a specimen for public aquariums due to their very attractive coloration.

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