White Grunt, Haemulon plumieri, get their name from an audible grunting that is produced by grinding of the pharyngeal teeth, with their air bladder acting as amplifier.
Spawning occurs on offshore hard bottoms or reefs from May through June. They feed on crustaceans, mollusks and small fishes.
The white grunt is silver-gray, with numerous blue and yellow stripes on the body and head. On some individuals the scales are tipped with bronze.
The pectoral fins are chalky and the other fins are gray. The lining of the body cavity, or peritoneum, is black.
White grunt occur in tropical and warm-temperature waters, inhabiting irregular bottom areas of the continental shelf from Virginia to Brazil, including Bermuda, the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.
The species is reported to live as long as 13 years, attaining a length of 25 inches and weight of 8 pounds.
White grunt are carnivores that feed on bottom-dwelling invertebrates by rooting around in the sand and shell hash between rocky ledges and at the bases of coral formations.
They are usually caught by anglers while bottom fishing. Cut bait, shellfish and squid are used as baits. They are good table fare.