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Species: Haemulon parra, Sailors Choice Grunt, Sailor’s-choice grunt

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

black scale spots -> dotted oblique stripes; fins dark
juv: middle & lower stripes converge, C base - 1 round spot
D XII, 17 (16-18)
A 8
pectoral fin : at least inner 1/3 scaled
scales below LL oblique to body axis

Haemulon parra (Desmarest, 1823)

Sailor’s-choice grunt

Body oblong, compressed; body depth 36-39% of SL; head blunt, its upper profile slightly convex; rear margin of bone under eye concealed by scales; mouth small to moderate, lips not fleshy; underside of chin with 2 large pores and a central groove; preoperculum finely serrated, without spines; gill rakers 22-23; dorsal fin continuous, with small to moderate notch in middle, rays XII, 16-18; anal rays III, 8, 2nd and 3rd spines similar; tail forked; soft dorsal and anal densely scaled nearly to the edge of the fin; scales rough; scales over entire body and head except front of snout, lips and chin; lateral-line scales 51-52; scale rows below lateral line oblique to body axis; pectoral fins scaled at least on inner 1/3.

Adult: silvery grey; dotted irregular black stripes along scale rows, mostly oblique; fins grey, dusky at ends; pectoral clear; edges of eye often yellow or bronze; inside mouth red. Juvenile: white with 4 black stripes: one along nape; 1 from above eye along top of back and upper tail base; a thin stripe from top of eye back along  lateral line that joins the bottom stripe at front of tail base; the bottom stripe from snout through eye to the end of the tail base; a round black spot on base of tail fin.

Reaches 41.2 cm.

Habitat: on reefs and hard bottoms; juveniles in seagrass beds.

Depth: 0-80 m.

The Gulf of Mexico to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Corals
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Rocks
  • Reef and soft bottom
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Data
  • Sea-stars/cucumbers/urchins
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • West Atlantic Endemic
  • All species.
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • GC non-endemic
  • Extends North of GC
  • Extends N + S of GC
  • Extends South of GC
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Island (s)
  • All species..
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 41.2
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 80