Rosamond Gifford Zoo

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French Grunt

Haemulon flavolineatum

The French Grunt is a silvery blue-white fish with thick lips, yellow fins and reoccurring bright yellow stripes along its back and sides. Its three dorsal stripes are horizontal while side stripes are diagonal; juveniles have white bodies with thin black and yellow stripes. This common aquarium fish is perch shaped and grows from 6.7-11.8 inches (17-30cm).

Range & Habitat

Western Atlantic from Bermuda and South Carolina to Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico, South America to Brazil. This species swims in large schools up to several thousand, which are most active at night. The French grunt lives in subtropical coral reefs, especially near Elkhorn coral, under ledges, and in sea grass beds at depths of 8-197 ft (3-60m).   

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Not evaluated by IUCN, but numerous in the wild.


Small crustaceans, mollusks, and polychaetes (bristle worms)

Life Span

Up to 8 years.

Fun Facts about the French Grunt

  • The French grunt gets its name from the sound it makes when grinding its teeth.
  • The French grunt is also called the banana, gold laced, open or red mouthed grunt. This fish’s mouth is bright red-orange in color.
  • This is the only grunt whose scales below the lateral line are twice as large as those above.
Updated June 13, 2023
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