Volume 5 Number 2
Schooling Grunts near Cayman Brac
Grunts are common fish that are found throughout the Caribbean. Grunts are large fish. As adults they can be up to 2 feet long, depending on the species. The fish in this picture were all between 12 and 16 inches long. These were full-sized adults for the two species in this picture.
There are two species (that is, two different kinds) of Grunts in this picture. There are Bluestriped Grunts and Sailor's Choice. The Bluestriped Grunts have horizontal yellow and blue stripes on their sides. The Sailor's Choice are silver with black dots on their scales. Both fish have dark black tails. How many fish of each different kind do you see in this picture?
Bluestriped Grunts and Sailor's Choice often swim together in schools near the coral reefs. These fish can swim together because they are both about the same size and design, which means they will both swim at about the same speed. They also have the same lifestyle, hanging out near the reef by day and waiting to go exploring for food at night. Swimming in a school helps to protect these fish, as the fish will help each other watch out for danger. Because these are large fish that swim in the open water above the reef rather than hiding in the holes of the reef between the corals, they need to be alert for danger. Other fish, such as sharks, barracudas, Tiger Groupers, or Nassau Groupers, might try to eat them. By swimming in a school and taking turns being on the lookout, swimming in the school might allow each fish to relax a little and get more rest.
You can see pictures of sharks and groupers on the ReefNews website.
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