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Opistognathidae (Jawfishes)

Species Currently in the DFL

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Opistognathus punctatus
Finespotted Jawfish
About This Family
Most tropical areas of the world’s oceans except the eastern Atlantic.
Shallow depths from 2 to 30 m on sand or rubble, but some found from 100 m to deeper than 200 m on soft bottoms.
Jawfishes have a bulbous head and typically an extremely large mouth. The eyes are positioned well forward and high on the head. The lateral line is high on the body and usually ends below the middle of the dorsal fin.

Apparently all species construct their own burrows and are usually seen with only the head protruding from the burrow. The males are mouth-brooders (oral incubation of the eggs), and the sticky egg mass occasionally is set down in the burrow during brief periods for foraging. The diet is normally bottom-dwelling crustaceans and other invertebrates, or zooplankton. One jawfish species is common in the aquarium trade.

There are three genera with approximately 78 species, with many species yet to be described.

Nelson 2006; Smith-Vaniz, pp. 2588-22589, in: Carpenter & Niem 1999; Smith-Vaniz, pp. 1375-1378, in: Carpenter 2002
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