7 photos - 3 species


 There are 4 genera with about 80 species.

They are also known as well builders, as they build vertical burrows in the seabed.

They reinforce the inner walls of the burrows with the help of stones, mussel shells or pieces of coral.

Most species live in small colonies in small territories, others are solitary.

They leave their burrow briefly to catch food or to defend their territory.

Most of the time, however, they can only be seen with their heads sticking out of their burrows.

If danger threatens, they disappear into their burrow, tail first.

Most species do not grow larger than 12 cm.

Opistognathus aurifrons

Yellowhead jawfish

 Maximum length: 10 cm

Depth: 3 - 20 metres

Yellowish head, pale body, floating above its passage.

Fin ends usually have a blue sheen.

They inhabit sandy areas and coral rubble near the reef,

digging tunnels with their mouths into which they flee tail-first when threatened.

The male incubates the eggs in its mouth. 

Not shy, you can get close to them with slow movements.

Photos 1 - 3 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean

Opistognathus randalli

Gold-specs jawfish

 Maximum length: 11 cm

Depth: 3 - 20 metres

Cave-dwelling fish, large eyes that sit high and far forward on the head.

Large mouth, used to incubate the eggs.

Usually only the head sticks out of its cave, looking for plankton.

Always swims tail first into its cave.

Very rarely seen in its full size.

Photos 1 - 3 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Opistognathus solorensis

Solor jawfish

 Maximum length: 5 cm

Depth: 0 - 35 m

Little known species, inhabits like other jawfish self-made tubes in sand and rubble bottoms

close to the reef.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi