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The Robinson Library >> Science >> Zoology >> Fishes >> Class Actinopterygii

Anisotremus virginicus; When in distress, the porkfish makes a grunting sound by rubbing its teeth together, hence its common name.



This fish has a silver to light-yellow tapered body with yellow stripes along the entire length; it is the only grunt in the Atlantic with such coloration. Its fins and forehead are solid yellow. Two black bars run along the head -- one through the eye and the other along the edge of the gill plate. Juveniles have a white body with a yellow snout, forehead, and forward portion of dorsal fin, with two black stripes along the length of the body and a black spot just before the tail. It averages 6-10 inches in length, with a maximum length of 16 inches; maximum weight is just over 2 pounds, with the average being less than a pound.

Distribution and Habitat

Porkfish are found throughout the western Atlantic, from Bermuda and Florida to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. They inhabit reefs and rocky bottoms from 10 to 60 feet deep.


Adult porkfish feed on annelids, mollusks, crustaceans, and echinoderms. They hunt at night, usually in large schools. Juveniles pick parasites from the skin and scales of other fish.

Scientific Classification

phylum Chordata
subphylum Vertebrata
superclass Osteichthyes
class Actinopterygii
order Perciformes
family Haemulidae
genus & species Anisotremus virginicus

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The Robinson Library >> Science >> Zoology >> Fishes >> Class Actinopterygii

This page was last updated on October 04, 2017.