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Species: Opistognathus gilberti, Yellow Jawfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

blue grey; front D (male) black spot
head behind eye: 2 yellow bars
flank: yellow stripe
C: short, male - black, female - yellow
top jaw: expanded & square at rear
front roof mouth: teeth
gill rakers 34-62
A 13-14

Opistognathus gilberti Bohlke, 1967

Yellow Jawfish

Elongate, compressed, tapering body; large bulbous head; eye large, high; front nostril a short tube without a cirrus; mouth terminal, large, extends well to rear of eye; rear of top jaw straight, noticeably expanded and square; front of roof of mouth with teeth; gill rakers 34-62; fin spines flexible; dorsal and anal fins with long bases; dorsal fin XI, 12; anal II, 13-14; pelvic fins I, 5, outer 2 rays stout and unbranched, inner 3 rays weaker and branched, fin base before the pectoral, outer soft ray not tightly bound to next ray, fin short; tail rounded, shorter than head, 19-30% of SL; lateral line on front half of body only, high; scales small, smooth, none on head.

Female: head and body dark blue-grey; eye yellow; a yellow bar across top of head at rear of eyes; an large oblique yellow blotch on operculum; a yellow stripe along lateral line; dorsal and anal fins dark blue-grey, with a central yellow stripe; tail fin yellow, with a blue grey edge. Male: head and body blue-grey, darker at rear, underside of belly white; head with blue spots around mouth and under and behind eye, eye yellow, a yellow bar across top of head at rear of eyes, a yellow bar on operculum; inner lining of top jaw and adjacent membranes pale; dorsal, anal and pelvic fins whitish, dorsal fin with a conspicuous black spot on spines III-IV; tail fin black with a white border.

Reaches 7.5 cm.

In burrows on rubble bottoms on steep outer-reef slopes.

Depth range: 27-55 m.

The Bahamas to the central Caribbean.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Brooded
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • GC endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 7.5
Depth Range Min
  • 27
Depth Range Max
  • 55