Brownstriped grunt (Anisotremus moricandi)

Brownstriped grunt
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Brownstriped grunt fact file

Brownstriped grunt description

GenusAnisotremus (1)

Although the brownstriped grunt was discovered as long ago as 1842, very little is known about this reef fish, having been misidentified on several occasions prior to its eventual rediscovery in 1982 (3) (4). It is a relatively small species of Anisotremus, with a deep, compressed body. The head and body are primarily dark-brown in colour, with six narrow whitish-gold, horizontal stripes, giving the converse impression of six wide brown stripes, hence the common name. The pelvic fins are black, while the other fins are light yellow (2) (4). All species in the family Haemulidae are known as grunts because of the noise they make by grinding their well-developed pharyngeal teeth together (5).

Max length: 18 cm (2)

Brownstriped grunt biology

The brownstriped grunt appears to be a nocturnal species, spending considerable time during the day hidden in reef crevices (3) (4). Although it was originally thought to be solitary (4), observations have been made of this species in small groups comprising up to 12 individuals (3). Its diet is poorly known, but analyses of stomach contents indicate an omnivorous diet that includes crabs, gastropods, polychaete worms and algae (3) (4).


Brownstriped grunt range

A seemingly discontinuous distribution in the western Atlantic, with records from the coasts of Panama, Aruba, Columbia, Orchila Island (Venezuela), and Brazil, from Ceará to Espirito Santo (2) (3).


Brownstriped grunt habitat

The brownstriped grunt primarily inhabits rocky reefs in shallow, turbid water (2) (3) (4).


Brownstriped grunt status

Classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered


Brownstriped grunt threats

The primary threat to the brownstriped grunt is habitat degradation, with recreational activities, high sedimentation rates from runoff, and pollution all contributing to a decline in the quality of this species’ reef habitat (3). Although not of commercial importance (2), the brownstriped grunt is taken incidentally in other fisheries and is being increasingly caught for the marine aquarium trade (3).


Brownstriped grunt conservation

There are currently no known conservation measures in place for the brownstriped grunt, but specific recommendations have been made for the protection of its reef habitat, through the designation of Marine Protected Areas, and the regulation of its exploitation. In addition, owing to the paucity of information available on this species, further research into its ecology and population parameters is considered a high priority (3).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Find out more

To find out more about the brownstriped grunt, see:

  • Acero, P.A. and Garzón, F.J. (1982) Rediscovery of Anisotremus moricandi (Perciformes: Haemulidae), including a redescription of the species and comments on its ecology and distribution. Copeia, 1982(3): 613-618.



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A group of molluscs that have a well-defined head, an unsegmented body and a broad, flat foot. They can possess a single, usually coiled, shell or no shell at all. Includes slugs, snails and limpets.
Active at night.
Feeding on both plants and animals.
To do with the pharynx or throat.
Polychaete worms
Polychaeta means ‘many bristled’; this class of worms are segmented and bear many ‘chaetae’ (bristles).


  1. IUCN Red List (December, 2008)
  2. Carpenter, K.E. (2002) The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Volume 3: Bony fishes. Part 2 (Opistognathidae to Molidae), sea turtles and marine mammals. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome.
  3. Dias, T.L.P. (2007) What do we know about Anisotremus moricandi (Teleostei: Haemulidae), an endangered reef fish?. Biota Neotropica, 7(2): 317 - 319.
  4. Acero, P.A. and Garzón, F.J. (1982) Rediscovery of Anisotremus moricandi (Perciformes: Haemulidae), including a redescription of the species and comments on its ecology and distribution. Copeia, 1982(3): 613 - 618.
  5. Campbell, A. and Dawes, J. (2004) Encyclopedia of Underwater Life. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Image credit

Brownstriped grunt  
Brownstriped grunt

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