French Grunts and Blue-Striped Grunts

Blue-striped grunts and French grunts are two types of similar fish that are frequently found near shallow reefs in warm, tropical waters in places such as the Caribbean, Bahamas, Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil and Bermuda. They have been given the name grunts because of the grunting sound they make when they grind their teeth; special air bladders help to amplify the sound.

The main grunt family, Haemulidae, contains about 150 different species of fish, with the blue-striped and French grunts standing out because of their stripes: The blue-striped grunt has blue stripes running horizontally along its body, and the French grunt has stripes running both horizontally and diagonally. Aside from the stripes, one can tell a blue-striped grunt from a French grunt by its caudal fin: The blue-striped grunt has a black caudal fin, and the French grunt has a yellow caudal fin. French grunts are also slightly smaller than the blue-striped grunts.

Grunts tend to travel in small and midsize schools, which serve to protect them from predators, and mostly survive on crustaceans and small fish. The blue-striped grunt, in particular, is known for its affinity with damselfish eggs.

You can discover these colorful fish at Key West diving resorts and observe them up close in their personal environment.