Pigfish: Orthopristis chrysoptera


  • Body light brown or gray, often with a blueish tint
  • Often appears mottled or with indistinct, irregular vertical bars
  • Many orange spots or markings on sides and dorsal fin
  • Head sometimes with orange bands
  • Mouth small, not extending past the first nostril
  • Young have several dark brown stripes extending the length of the upper body


Bays, estuaries and coastal waters over sand or mud bottom; often found near seagrass or channel slopes


Audible grunting is produced by grinding of the pharyngeal teeth, with air bladder acting as amplifier

Fishing Tips and Facts:

  • Popular as bait
  • Sizes up to 15 inches; common to 9 inches
  • Feed on small fishes and invertebrates

Additional Information

Similar species include pinfish (has incisor-like teeth, mouth ends behind font nostril and has dark spot behind gill cover) and other grunts

Image Credit: © Diane Rome Peebles

FWC Facts:
The FWC’s Angler Tag Return Hotline, 800-367-4461, collects data regarding tagged fish that anglers have captured or sighted in Florida waters.

Learn More at AskFWC