French Grunts and Blue Stripe-Grunts
If you’ve got a diving or snorkeling trip on the books while you’re here in the Bahamas and it’s your first experience, revel in the fact that you don’t have to travel very far to see something spectacular. There are tons of colorful species viewable from just below the ocean’s surface and French Grunts (Haemulon flavolineatum - try saying that name three times fast!) and Blue Striped-Grunts (Haemulon sciurus) are a fish you are bound to see. These two trouble makers can be found in just about every shallow reef in the Caribbean, and they get their name from...yep you guessed it..grunting! Grunting fish?! Yep, that’s right. The French and Blue Stripe Grunts produce this distinctive grunting sound by grinding their teeth together vigorously, and then they amplify the sound using their air bladders! Don’t you love Mother Nature?
French and Blue Grunts are typically found in small schools, together, which makes for a pretty interesting underwater symphony when you have a bunch of them grinding simultaneously. The easiest way o identify these species is to pay careful attention to the stripes along the side of its body. Look at the first few rows of stripes running lengthwise, now check out the lower stripes, they’re diagonal, almost like lattice work.
The Blue - Striped Grunt has very apparent blue stripes that upon close inspection, look to be outlined a in dark blue lining. If you can’t get the fish to sit still long enough, because, well, it’s a fish, look for a dark, brownish tail fin and dorsal top or fin. The Blue Striped Grunt is generally found in seagrass beds, mangroves, and reefs up to depths of 30 meters. And it’s habitat stretches from the Western Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, around the Caribbean, like the Bahamas, all the way down to Brazil.