Species Details

Anisotremus Virginicus



Inshore, Reefs

1 - 2 lbs.

10" - 16"

Porkfish (Anisotremus Virginicus) Fish Description

The Porkfish, also known under the names of Atlantic Porkfish and the paragrate grunt, closely related to the burrito grunt. They are considered to be a deep-bodied grunt, with thick lips and a blunt snout. To distinguish them from most other grunts would be from their dorsal having a higher profile to others. The caudal fin of the Porkfish is notched. And their mouth is small and lowly positioned on their head. 

The porkfish is well-recognized for its yellow and silvery blue stripes accompanied by two black-barred on their body. One of the black bars runs diagonally from their eye to the both, whereas the second being more vertical, running from the start of the anterior edge of the dorsal fin to the base of the pectoral. They have yellowfins and a brilliant yellow head. 


Diet and Size

Adult Porkfish are nocturnal feeders and often eat invertebrates like mollusks, echinoderms, crustaceans, and worms. Adolescent porkfish consume mostly parasites picked off from the skin and scales of other species of fish. Juvenile Porkfish is considered “cleaners.”The size of a Porkfish could reach the length of 16 inches, though most are known to not exceed 10 inches. They commonly only weigh up to 4 ounces.


Interesting Facts

  • Porkfish, quite the small fish, get their name from the sound they make when they grind their teeth, such as other grunts too. 
  • With its yellow color and black stripes, the porkfish is the only grunt situated in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • In Jamaica, the Porkfish spawns all year-round.
  • They are common prey for the lionfish.


Fishing Techniques

Adult Porkfish frequently feed in open waters at night, venturing from coastal reefs. Whereas Juvenile Porkfish feeds on the reef itself, and clean other fish there, as they are known to be cleaners. 


Habitat and Distribution

Porkfish can be found in depths of 6 to 65 ft. Predominantly they inhabit shallow inshore waters over reefs and rocky bottoms. Juvenile Porkfishes are commonly found on seagrass beds. They are nocturnal fish, who predominantly travel in large schools of fish, sometimes accompanied by white grunts. 

They occur in the West Atlantic Ocean from Florida south to Brazil, this includes the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, and the Bahamas. The Porkfish have also been found to be in waters off Bermuda.

Porkfish are the eleventh most sighted species within the waters adjacent to the Florida Keys.