French Grunts of the Bahamas
If you are planning a scuba diving Nassau excursion, there's no need to travel very far in order to see some of the most spectacular sights underwater. There are many different colorful species of fish that can be seen from just below the surface of the ocean, and French grunts are one of them. These small and colorful fish can commonly be found in nearly every shallow reef within the tropical waters of the Caribbean. French grunts and blue striped-grunts are usually found swimming in schools together and are known as little "trouble makers" of the reefs because of the grunting sound that is produced when their flat teeth plates rub together. This sound is then amplified even louder by their air bladders, giving them their "grunt" species name.
French grunts are usually gray or white in color, but appear to be yellow due to their numerous yellow and orange strips. The fish also has yellow fins and a white ventral surface. Because of its bright color, the French grunt is also known to many as the banana grunt or gold laced grunt. The inside of their mouth is red which is another feature that distinguishes them from other similar small to medium sized fish. The body is this grunt species is described as being compressed with a very blunt head. The average size of a French grunt is anywhere from 6 to 8 inches, but in some cases, they may grow up to 12 inches long. This beautiful species of grunt fish also has an expected lifespan of up to 8 years in age.
French Grunt Eating Habits
French grunts are carnivores, meaning that they are meat eaters and feed on flesh. The diet of this type of fish is made up of small crustaceans, polychaetes, and mollusks. Krill, mysis, clams, shrimp, hermit crabs, seafood and any other type of meaty food will typically be consumed by the French grunt. Because it is a nocturnal species, this fish usually comes out during the night to scavenge the sand flats and seagrass beds near the coral reefs for their food.
No matter where you choose to scuba dive within Nassau and the rest of the Bahamas, French grunts can be spotted nearly anywhere. They usually stay near the shallow coral reefs and rocky substrates, swimming under ledges or close to elkhorn coral. Juvenile French grunts like to stay in coastal waters near the shore, preferably in seagrass beds that are found in lagoons and bays. When searching for French grunts, divers are likely to see thousands of this fish at once, as they are commonly observed in large schools. This species of fish can also be spotted at night, searching for seagrass beds to stay near that are close to the coral reef. In addition to the Caribbean, French grunts can be found in other tropical and semi-tropical waters including the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, South Carolina and Western Atlantic from Bermuda.