Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Anisotremus virginicus, Porkfish grunt, the Porkfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

black bar through eye, another behind operculum
body: blue & yellow stripes
juv: yellow head & fins + 2 black stripes & C - black spot



Anisotremus virginicus (Linnaeus, 1758)


Body deep, compressed, back high; head short, blunt; rear margin of bone under eye concealed by scales; mouth small, low, ~ horizontal, lips fleshy; inside mouth not red; teeth in bands on jaws, outer ones larger, conical, none on center roof of mouth; a pair of conspicuous pores plus a central groove under the chin; 13-15 lower gill rakers; preopercle finely serrated; dorsal continuous but deeply notched, 4th spine longest, XII, 16-17; tail forked; anal with III strong spines, 2nd very large, 9-11 soft rays; scales moderate to large, rough, over entire body and head except front of snout, lips and chin, none on membranes between dorsal and anal soft rays; lateral-line scales 56-60; 10-11 scale rows between lateral line and base of first dorsal spine.

Adult: silvery; snout and nape yellow; alternating yellow & silvery blue stripes along body; a pair of thick black bars: an oblique one through eye and a vertical one immediately behind head; fins yellow. Juveniles: yellow head, upper front body, spiny dorsal and pelvic fins; a black midlateral stripe, another along upper back; a large black spot on base of tail fin.

Size: to 40 cm.

Habitat: generally seen in small aggregations on rocky and coral reefs, locally common.

Depth: 1-90 m.

Florida to Brazil.


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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Reef only
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Ectoparasite cleaner
  • Data
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Data
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Ectoparasites
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • All species.
Regional Endemism
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species..
  • Island (s)
  • Also in Brazil
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 40
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 90