Volume 5    Number 16

Yellowheaded Jawfish Struts its Stuff
on a Reef near Belize

Yellowheaded Jawfish Struts its Stuff on a Reef near Belize

Yellowheaded Jawfish are as bashful as they are spectacular. These little fish are pretty common on sandy bottoms near the reefs of the Caribbean. Yellowheaded Jawfish are small, usually about 3 or 4 inches long.

Yellowheaded Jawfish live in burrows in the sand. These fish will dig holes in the sand with their mouths, dumping the sand in a ring around the hole. They will carry rocks in their mouths to surround their holes with a small wall.

Yellowheaded Jawfish are really shy. They will swim backwards down into their holes if anything comes too close. This behavior makes it really difficult to take their pictures. But if you are patient and quiet, you may get to see these little fish swim up out of their holes as they look you over. Often, these fish will dart out of their holes quickly to catch food swimming near their holes. The Yellowheaded Jawfish may swim out several body lengths, swallow its meal with a big gulp, and then back up to the opening of its hole as it decides whether to wait outside or to go back in and hide.

Yellowheaded Jawfish are white like the sand, with yellow on their heads and faces that give them their name. Notice that its fins are translucent (say, "trans-LOO-cent"), meaning that you can almost see through them. Their fins have a slight blue color.

ReefNews photographer Jonathan Dowell took this photo using a Canon A2 camera with a 28-105 mm zoom lens in an Ikelite housing with an Ikelite strobe.



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