California Grunion 7672890782 O
10Identifcation number on The Map®


Leuresthes tenuis

GrunionMatthew Meier ~


  • They are small, slender fish with bluish green backs, silvery sides and bellies
  • Their snouts are bluntly rounded and are very slippery
  • Silversides differ from true smelts, family Osmeridae, in that they lack the trout-like adipose fin
  • No teeth


  • Found only off the coast of California, USA, and Baja California, Mexico where the species is found on both the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of California coasts


  • Inhabiting the nearshore waters from the surf to a depth of 60 feet


  • Feed on plankton

Interesting Facts

  • Grunion are known for their unusual mating ritual whereby at very high tides the females come up on to sandy beaches where they dig their tails into the sand to lay their eggs
  • The male then wraps himself around the female to deposit his sperm and for the next ten days the grunion eggs remain hidden in the sand
  • At the next set of high tides the eggs hatch and the young grunion are washed out to sea