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Grunt

The white grunt or common grunt (Haemulon plumierii) is a species of ray-finned fish in the family Haemulidae native to the western Atlantic Ocean. It grows to a length of about 30 cm (12 in) and is a silvery-cream color, with narrow yellow and blue longitudinal stripes, but can modify its color somewhat to match its surroundings.

The white grunt is typically found in the western Atlantic Ocean, ranging from North Carolina in the USA through the northern Gulf of Mexico and the southern Caribbean Sea to Brazil. It favors rocky coastal waters up to 24 m (80 ft) deep but may be found over seagrass or sand between tides.

The white grunt is a nocturnal species, hiding in crevices during the day to avoid predators. At night it emerges to feed on algae and small invertebrates. It occasionally forms large schools, sometimes with other fish species. Sexual maturity is reached at 1-2 years when the overall length is about 15 cm (6 in), and spawning takes place at night between late spring and early autumn.

The white grunt is of minor commercial importance as a food fish. It is also popular with anglers because it will take both bait and lures, making it easy to catch; it can be confused with small hardhead catfish which are not desirable as a food fish.

Male and female appear similar (not like many fish where males are showier) and the only mark that may be used to tell them apart is that females frequently have an ovipositor sticking out of their anus. The white grunt is often found in tide pools but tends to move into deeper water during the day. They are usually found in groups, and males will aggressively defend their territory.

White grunt can be caught with live bait such as shrimp, cut bait such as squid or fish, or artificial lures such as small metal jigs or spoons. They often start biting after the sun sets and the moon comes out since it is more difficult for them to see.

Some anglers advocate the "jig-n-pig" method, which entails using a jig or other heavy metal lure with a stiff rod and reel to keep it near the bottom, then quickly pulling up the slack line whenever a grunt bites. This will also work for other grunts that are found in the area. White grunt can be caught year-round, however, they are more abundant in the summer and autumn months. They make a distinctive grunting noise.

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