Haemulon melanurum

Common Name

Cottonwick Grunt

Year Described

Linnaeus, 1758


Dorsal Fin: XII, 15-17 (usually 16)
Anal Fin: III, 8
Gill Rakers: 21-23 (total on first arch)
Lateral Line Scales: 49-51

Body moderately elongate. Soft dorsal and anal fins almost completely scaled. Scale rows under lateral line slightly oblique to body axis. 23-25 scales around caudal peduncle.


Body pearly white with several thin yellow stripes on the head and body. The middle yellow stripe is the thickest and tapers posteriorly. The median stripe becomes bronze on the snout. A thick dark stripe runs along the dorsum to the caudal peduncle, which splits into a Y-shaped marking on the caudal fin. The remainder of the fins are whitish.


Common to 25cm TL. Maximum size to 35cm TL.


Reef associated (rocky and coral) and seagrass beds in waters up to 40m. Often forms small schools near the bottom.


S. Florida to Brazil, inlcuding the N. Gulf of Mexico and the entire Caribbean Sea. Also Bermuda.


Lindeman, K.C. 2002. Haemulidae (pp. 1522-1550). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 3: Bony fishes part 2 (Opistognathidae to Molidae). FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5. FAO of the U.N., Rome.