any of about 75 species of marine fishes of the families Pomadasyidae and Banjosidae (order Perciformes). Grunts are found along shores in warm and tropical waters of the major oceans. They are snapperlike but with weaker teeth and are named for the piglike grunts they can produce with their pharyngeal (throat) teeth. Some (genus Haemulon) are further characterized by bright, reddish mouth linings. Grunts are edible and valued as food, though most species are small. Some are noted for a behavioral trait in which two individuals approach and "kiss." The purpose of this, whether sexual or aggressive, is not known.
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