Mottled Jawfish
Opistognathus maxillosus
    Ecological Descriptors
Habitat Size (cm) Diet Behaviour Sex 
Ben (S, Co, R) 13 Pisc, Cru I F
Upper head and body yellowish brown to white, with mottling of dark lines. 
Front nostril a short tube with a broad, rounded to branched cirrus Lower head and body white and body and tail base with a checkerboard pattern produced by a dark stripe along midside, crossed by 5-6 dark bars. The dark body bars join 5 black blotches along base of dorsal fin and 3 black blotches along base of anal fin. Black blotches on dorsal and anal fin edged with white, rest of both fins grey-brown. Tail fin with brownish base sounding 2 white blotches, rest of fin clear. Blackish around opening to gut inside mouth.

The Mottled Jawfish is associated with coral reefs.  It is usually found at depths of 2 m or less, but has been reported at a depth of 12 m (40ft).  This species is usually found on the protected side of coral reefs, where it inhabits areas of sand, coral, rubble, and seagrass. It builds an elaborate burrow around 30 cm deep, with a terminal chamber and vertical shaft lined with coral and shell fragments.  It exhibits a high levels of site fidelity and rarely relocates or builds a new burrow. A carnivore feeding on benthic crustaceans and small bony fish.

Life Cycle:
Males incubate/broods the eggs in the mouth. When hatched, larvae are pelagic.
Mottled Jawfish
(C) Robertson & Van Tassell
Mottled Jawfish