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Genus: Opistognathus, Jawfishes


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C blunt, short
top jaw end straight/rounded, no hook/notch below

OPISTOGNATHUS

JAWFISHES

Elongate, compressed, tapering body; large bulbous head; eye large, high; mouth terminal, large, extends well to rear of eye, males may have extension of top jaw bone reaching as far back as base of pectoral; rear of top jaw bone straight to rounded, without notch or hook on underside at rear; fin spines flexible; dorsal and anal fins with long bases; dorsal X-XI; anal I-II; pelvic fins I, 5, outer 2 rays stout and unbranched, inner 3 rays weaker and branched, fin base before the pectoral; tail rounded, much shorter than head; lateral line on front half of body only, high; scales small, smooth, none on head, body ranging from completely scaled to front ½ scaleless.

A genus with ~ 43 species that occurs throughout the tropics except for the eastern Atlantic and central Pacific; in our region there are 14 known species, including 6 endemics and 5 from the W Atlantic.