Thursday, March 6, 2008

Grunts: Don't eat the maid!

This morning I was reading an article in my ever-s0-informative Florida Sportsman (I actually got one SAT answer correct because I knew what the word 'burly' meant as I saw it describing some big redfish-true story). Usually the magazine lasts about 5 minutes, but today it outlived its normal shelf-life and provided some actual useful insight (when I say useful, I don't mean that it actually helped me catch a fish; I'm not sure I've caught one fish because of that magazine).

Let me explain. The article discussed a family of fish called Grunts. Grunts (which obviously 'grunt') hang around Grouper and they are the other species of fish most caught when targeting Grouper. My family doesn't like to eat them because they are 90% head and 10% rest of body. Not good odds for getting meat. Of course party boats (those with 20-50 anglers on them) catch the heck out of them and bring back long stringers. Again, not my bag.

So I was strangely intrigued why someone would write an article about "Grunts." I succumbed to my curiosity and proceeded to read until I found this Grunt 'fun fact.' The juvenile Porkfish, a member of the Grunt family (what an honor) spend time cleaning the mouths of large grouper. To clean a grouper's mouth, these young porkfish have to actually swim inside the mouth. Obviously. And yet they do so without 'fear.' They don't get eaten. How crazy is that?

Grouper, in case you don't know or care, eat ANYTHING that they can fit in their mouth. That's why they are terrible for aquariums. They eat all the fish, because all the fish can fit in their huge mouths. You can catch Grouper on fried chicken sometimes. They are not picky. I've caught many a grouper on several different species of Grunt before. But I'll never try to use small porkfish if given the opportunity.

This is actually going somewhere, believe it or not. How do Grouper know that the juvenlie porkfish are there to clean? How many were eaten before they understood that you just don't eat 'the maid?' How could this process evolve on its own? I mean Grouper suck down everything. They suck down every other fish. Bigger members of the grouper family (called Jewfish or Goliath Grouper to be P.C.) suck down other Grouper.

Its a fish-eat-fish world out there, at least in most cases. But not this one. I applaud God on His creation. I'll try not to look at Grunts (at least some Grunts) in the same light anymore.

3 comments:

Gus&Adri said...

Not a comment on the fish thing, but rather on the photo at the top of the blog.
It looks to me like a case of
"sympathetic pregnancy" aka couvade syndrome from the French couvee "to hatch." Have you experienced the accompanying morning sickness?
Oh,the things you can learn from a google search! ;)
--ae

Geoffsnook said...

How come no one comments on fish? I've received three comments on baby stuff since I put that picture up there. It just shows me how little people think of fish and how much people think of babies. I guess that's good though.

Gail and Keith said...

Ah, yes, there is species of bird, the plover who clean the teeth of the crocodile. Chance? Not on your life! Our Great Creator designed them
especially to do just that job for the Cranky Croc since he is unable to do it himself. G