Burrito Grunt

Burrito Grunt, Anisotremus interruptus

The Burrito Grunt, Anisotremus interruptus, whose common Spanish name is burro bacoco and whose local name is roncador, is a species in the Grunt or Haemulidae Family, known collectively as burros in Mexico. Globally, there are ten three species in the genus Anisotremus, six of which are found in Mexican waters, two in the Atlantic and two in the Pacific.

The Burrito Grunts have deep compressed bodies with a depth that is 45 to 47% of standard length. They have a high back, a short blunt head, and a small mouth. They have an overall silvery yellow-green color with dark green-brown fins except for their pectoral fins, which are light yellow. They have yellow eyes, a key to identification. They are characterized by a sharp slanting head profile, fleshy lips, and large conspicuous scales with dark spots on their anterior margins, which turn into triangular-shaped spots below their lateral line. As the fish matures, their lips become excessively large and a small trench develops across their upper lip. Their second anal spine is long and thick, their dorsal fin is continuous with the fourth spine being the longest, and their pectoral fins are long and reach the anal origin.

The Burrito Grunts are found around inshore rocky reefs in the first 100 feet of the water column. They reach a maximum length of 90 cm (35 inches). They are a poorly studied species and little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Burrito Grunts are found from Magdalena Bay southward along the southwest coast of Baja, throughout the Sea of Cortez, and along the coast of the mainland south to Guatemala.

The Burrito Grunt is very similar to, and very difficult to differentiate from, the Mojarra Grunt, Haemulon scudderii (thinner body; depth 35-39% of length; silver-gray appearance with white to dusky black fins; dark eyes).

The Burrito Grunts are not readily abundant but are viewed as good table fare.

Burrito Grunt, Anisotremus interruptus. Fish caught from coastal waters off Mazatlán, Sinaloa, October 2017. Length: 20 cm (7.9 inches).  Catch, photo and identification courtesy of Kenneth Tse, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Burrito Grunt, Anisotremus interruptus. Fish caught from shore at Km 21, Cabo Real, Baja California Sur, June 2005. Length: 30 cm (12 inches).Burrito Grunt, Anisotremus interruptus. Fish caught from coastal waters north of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, August, 2006. Length: 38 cm (15 inches). Note that the lips thicken significantly with maturity.

Burrito Grunt, Anisotremus interruptus. Fish caught from coastal waters within Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, January 2015. Length: not measured but perhaps a world record. Catch and photo courtesy of Brad Murakami, Surrey, British Columbia, Canada.

Burrito Grunt, Anisotremus interruptus. Fish caught from coastal waters off Loreto, Baja California Sur, October 2015. Length: not measured but perhaps a world record. Photo courtesy of Pamela Pelger Bolles, Loreto, Baja California Sur. My view on this fish is that is significantly larger than the fish of Brad Murakami presented above.