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Species: Opistognathus fossoris, Barred jawfish

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front nostril - long bushy cirrus
body: 6 bars
D: 15-17, black spot at front
inside rear of top jaw: black V + white and red

Opistognathus fossoris Bussing & Lavenberg, 2003

Barred jawfish

Head wide and robust, body compressed; front nostril with a large opening and a long cirrus with 4-6 branches; top margin of operculum expanded above in a broad membranous flap; mouth at front, large, extends beyond eye, top jaw long, longer in male in which it reaches nearly to edge of operculum, with rounded tip in female and long, curved, pointed tip in male; both jaws with several rows of large papillae inside tooth rows; 1-2 teeth at front of roof of mouth; top tooth patch in pharynx with exceptionally long teeth; 32-36 gill rakers; dorsal fin, XI-XII, 15-17; anal III, 15-17; tail fin rounded; pelvic fin with elongate second ray reaching nearly to anus in both sexes; head and nape scaleless, rest of body scaly; 92-121 oblique scale rows; lateral line on front half of body only, high, ends under soft rays 4-6 of dorsal fin, 57-75 pores.

Head and body red-brown; fine speckles on top of head, a dark spot at top margin of preopercle, another spot below, a spot behind the eye; a V shaped black mark (larger in male) inside rear of top jaw, preceded by a white band above which there is an red spot; 6 wide dark brown blotches or bars on upper half of body, 1st  one behind gill opening, last one on tail base; median fins orangish; dorsal fin with a jet black spot between tips of first 1-2 spines (juveniles may lack this spot and have an ocellus between spines II-VII), and usually 5-6 dark blotches corresponding to flank bars, fin darker on outer part, with some dark and light spots; anal fin straw colored, with dark outer margin; tail fin transparent with two pale spots on base and a scattering of dark spots on midfin; pectorals transparent, pelvics with dark tips.  

Size: 10.8 cm.

Habitat: burrows in sand and rubble.

Depth: 12-32 m.

Range: The W Gulf of California.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Sand & gravel
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathypelagic
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • No Data
Egg Type
  • Brooded
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • East Pacific endemic
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Cortez province endemic
  • TEP endemic
  • Continental TEP endemic
  • Continent only
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Depth Range Min
  • 12
Depth Range Max
  • 32
Length Max
  • 10.8