Haemulon flavolineatum 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Haemulidae

Scientific Name: Haemulon flavolineatum (Desmarest, 1823)
Regional Assessments:
Common Name(s):
English French Grunt
Spanish Ronco Condenado
Diabasis flavolineatus Desmarest, 1823
Haemulon eckmani Lönnberg, 1895
Haemulon heterodon Cuvier, 1829
Haemulon fremebundum Goode & Bean, 1880
Haemulon xanthopteron Cuvier, 1830

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2015-10-10
Assessor(s): Lindeman, K., Anderson, W., Carpenter, K.E., Claro, R., Padovani-Ferreira, B., Rocha, L.A. & Sedberry, G.
Reviewer(s): Cox, N.A.
Contributor(s): Steell, M. & Tishler, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Comeros-Raynal, M., Elfes, C., Linardich, C. & Polidoro, B.
This species is widely distributed and is often very locally abundant. It can be harvested particularly by commercial, recreational or artisanal fishers in most areas but typically in relatively small numbers. It is one of the most common shallow reef fishes in the Greater Caribbean. There are no known major threats at the global scale. It is listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Haemulon flavolineatum is distributed in the western Atlantic from South Carolina south along the U.S. coast, Bermuda, the Bahamas, in the Gulf of Mexico from the Florida Keys and from Tuxpan, Mexico along the northern Yucatan to northwestern Cuba, and throughout the Caribbean to Trinidad. Records from Brazil are based on misidentifications. Its depth range is one to 60 m.

Countries occurrence:
Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; Aruba; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Bermuda; Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba; Brazil; Cayman Islands; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Curaçao; Dominica; Dominican Republic; Grenada; Guadeloupe; Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Jamaica; Martinique; Mexico; Montserrat; Nicaragua; Panama; Puerto Rico; Saint Barthélemy; Saint Kitts and Nevis; Saint Lucia; Saint Martin (French part); Saint Vincent and the Grenadines; Sint Maarten (Dutch part); Trinidad and Tobago; Turks and Caicos Islands; United States; Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of; Virgin Islands, British; Virgin Islands, U.S.
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Atlantic – western central; Atlantic – southwest
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):60
Upper depth limit (metres):1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Haemulon flavolineatum is very abundant in many parts of its range. Several of many examples follow. Haemulon flavolineatum was the second most abundant species to colonize artificial reefs within the Looe Key Special Protected Area from May 2001 to August 2002 (Peterson et al. 2013). This species is very common off many areas of Mexico (M. Vega-Cendejas pers. comm. 2013). This species was the most frequently encountered grunt, occurring in 35% of the total surveys, and represented the greatest grunt biomass inside the Virgin Island Coral Reef National Monument (VICRNM) (Monaco et al. 2007). At the VICRNM, mean H. flavolineatum biomass was 27% greater outside compared with inside from 2002-2004. It is the most abundant species recorded in Lamarka Reef, Nicaragua (WWF USAID-CAFTA 2009) and is also very abundant in Venezuela (Cervigon 1993). French Grunt was one of five species that accounted for 77% of visual census density of trappable fish in the Barbados Marine Reserve and adjacent non-reserve area. Density estimates recorded for this species were 23.17 individuals/400 m2 in the Barbados Marine Reserve and 9.70 individuals/400 m2 outside the reserve (Chapman and Kramer 1999). A study by Tupper and Juanes (1999) on the effects of the Barbados Marine Reserve on the recruitment dynamics of haemulid fishes and their predators on coral reefs, showed that size and abundance of adult grunts (Haemulon chrysargyreum, H. aurolineatum and H. flavolineatum) and piscivores that prey on grunts were greater within the reserve than on adjacent reefs. Size and abundance of older juvenile grunts did not differ between protected and exploited reefs. Recruitment and early juvenile abundance were lower within the reserve and were inversely related to predator density.
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Haemulon flavolineatum occurs in large schools on rocky and coral reefs to depths of 60 m. This species settles in shallow waters in a variety of structural habitat types including hardbottom and vegetated habitats. Juveniles exhibit a pattern of diel migration from protective resting sites on coral reefs during the day to night-time feeding grounds of seagrass beds and other soft bottom habitats such as sand and mud (Ogden and Ehrlich 1977). Juveniles school during the day at coral reef and other hard bottom habitats then disperse around dusk to feed solitarily throughout the night (Helfman et al. 1982). Dispersal distances for juveniles are suspected to range from tens to hundreds of metres (Ogden and Ehrlich 1977), although few direct measurements of this distance have been conducted. A study on the pattern of habitat utilization in H. flavolineatum by Kendall et al. (2003) indicated that both juvenile and adult were found primarily over hard bottom substrates during the day. Juveniles were primarily found in lagoon areas as indicated by Ogden and Erlich (1977). However, adults were also more likely to be found in lagoons, not offshore as was previously speculated (Ogden and Erlich 1977). Juveniles can show fidelity to daytime sites across periods between 47 and 425 days, even though these sites are located in extensive and spatially continuous back-reef habitats. Furthermore, part of the population sheltering in shoreline shelter habitats (mangroves and rocky shoreline) during daytime move to adjacent seagrass beds in the afternoon (after 11:45am), likely to start feeding in seagrasses during daylight. Populations probably continue feeding here during night time, away from the daytime shelter sites, but in the morning of the next day, most fishes return to exactly the same shoreline shelter sites as those of the previous day (Verweij and Nagelkerken 2007). Pelagic larval duration lasts an average of 14 days (Brothers and McFarland 1981, McFarland et al. 1985) at which time larvae settle into sand or seagrass habitats (Shulman 1985a) or onto reef structures (McFarland et al. 1985) and begin their benthic life. Juveniles in seagrass or sand habitats migrate to reefs within first month of settlement (Shulman 1985). Seagrass beds are an important nursery biotype for juveniles of this species but appear to utilize mangrove and seagrass nursery biotypes simultaneously (Nagelkerken et al. 2000). In the Caribbean, grunts usually settle into seagrass beds, then move onto reefs several weeks later (McFarland 1979). They also can settle abundantly on hardbottom habitats in shallower depth zones (Lindeman and Snyder 1999, Jordan et al. 2012). In Barbados, seagrass beds are scarce, and grunt juveniles generally settle directly onto reefs (Tupper 1989). Newly settled grunts remain closely associated with the substrate for one to two weeks, but as they grow they forage farther from the reef (Tupper and Juanes 1999). Food items include plankton from settlement until 3-4 cm (SL), then benthic invertebrates for adults (Helfman et al. 1982, McFarland pers. comm. in Shulman and Ogden 1987). Mangroves and seagrass beds provide daytime feeding habitats for some life-stages of H. flavolineatum, which is generally considered a nocturnal feeder (Verweij et al. 2006). The juvenile usage of several backreef habitats in comparison to congeners is reviewed in Nagelkerken (2009). Sexual maturity is attained at 12-15 cm (SL) (Billings and Munro 1974). Spawning has not been observed in this species and spawning behaviours and frequencies are not known (Shulman and Ogden 1987). However, spawning has been reported throughout the year off Jamaica and in the northeastern Caribbean, where individuals in spawning condition have been observed in March and September (Erdman 1976, NMFS 2005). In a portion of Tague Bay, St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, mean annual recruitment was recorded at 1.8 recruits per m2 of lagoon floor, equivalent to 44 recruits per m2 of juvenile habitat per year and among the highest recruitment rates reported for reef fishes. Post-settlement mortality was also very high: during the first month of benthic life it was 0.9 and during the first year was >0.992 (Shulman and Ogden 1987). Recruits can distinguish between water types from different habitats and show a preference for water from seagrass beds and mangroves over that from the coral reef (Huijbers et al. 2008). Maximum total length for this species is 30 cm (Robins and Ray 1986).

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Due to its abundance, this species can be exploited in local fisheries. However, due to its small size, it is typically not sought in a directed manner. It can be caught by hook and line, trap and seine. It is one of the most common commercially exploited fishes on Barbados reefs (Tupper and Juanes 1999). It is marketed fresh (Courtenay and Sahlman 1978, Robins and Ray 1986). Occasionally it appears in the aquarium trade.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Due to the absence of directed fisheries and the exceptional frequency and abundance of this species, there are few major direct threats to this species. A study conducted by Hawkins and Roberts (2004) to determine the effects of artisanal fishing to fish assemblages and benthic communities in six islands in the Caribbean (where fishing pressures ranged from non-existent in Bonaire to very high intensities in Jamaica) showed grunt biomass did not decrease as fishing pressure increased, although biomass differed significantly among the islands. It has been identified as a prey item of the invasive Lionfish, Pterois volitans (Valdez-Moreno et al. 2012, Green and Cote 2014). Adults of the species are closely associated with corals and a variety of direct and indirect threats may arise with increasing climate change impacts on corals and associated habitats (Ateweberhan et al. 2013).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Effective April 2012, this species was removed from the Snapper-Grouper fishery management unit of the US South Atlantic Fishery Management Council and it is not managed in the federal waters of the US Gulf of Mexico. It is included in the Reef Fish Management Plan of the US Caribbean Fishery Management Council, where landings are allocated by commercial and recreational sectors for mixed haemulids. The species is not directly managed in most countries. 

This species can occur within marine protected areas (MPAs) of variable effectiveness. Results from Tupper and Juanes (1999) on grunt recruitment within and outside of an MPA in Barbados indicate that although protection had a significant positive effect on the size and abundance of large carnivorous fishes, higher predation inside the reserve may lead to reduced juvenile recruitment. 

Citation: Lindeman, K., Anderson, W., Carpenter, K.E., Claro, R., Padovani-Ferreira, B., Rocha, L.A. & Sedberry, G. 2016. Haemulon flavolineatum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T194418A2333815. . Downloaded on 22 September 2018.
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