© Johan Boshoff


Grunts or Rubberlips (Haemulidae)


On average grunts measure 30 cm, but can be up to 90 cm long.


Grunts have large heads and torsos which narrow towards a short tail. They are characterised by their big lips. They vary in colour from a silverfish-grey to yellow with blue lines.

General Info

Grunts belong to the Haemulidae family which comprises of 17 genera and 150 species. They can be found midwater in big schools and in estuaries, and are nocturnal hunters. Juveniles swim in an undulate motion and can be found in weeds. They differ greatly in colour from adult grunters. Grunts are pelagic spawners. Its name is derived from the sound it makes by grinding its lower and upper teeth.


Grunts feed on benthic invertebrates such as shrimps, crabs and worms.


They can be found in all temperate and tropical oceans across the world.

Common Species

Harlequin sweetlips - Plectorhinchus chaetodonoides
Oriental sweetlips - Plectorhinchus vittatus
Whitebarred rubberlips - Plectorhinchus playfairi