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.
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