Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




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CAAB: 37388000


Grinners, Harlequins, Jawfish, Missing Links, Monkeyfish, Pugs, Smiler

Compiler and date details

18 April 2010 - Douglass F. Hoese, Dianne J. Bray & Matthew M. Lockett

December 2006 - Douglass F. Hoese & Dianne J. Bray


The Opistognathidae, jawfishes, are found in tropical regions of the world. Currently, three genera and around 78 species are known, with many still undescribed (Nelson 2006). Two genera, 18 described species and at least two undescribed species are known from Australia.

Opistognathids inhabit burrows in sand, adjacent to coral reefs, in coastal embayments and on the continental shelf. They are distinctive in having a very large mouth. Maximum size reached is 40 cm in length.

The family has been placed among the percoid fishes (Johnson 1984; Gill & Mooi 1993). Smith-Vaniz (1989) revised Stalix. Several species of Opistognathus are treated by Smith-Vaniz (2004, 2009, 2010)..


General References

Gill, A.C. & Mooi, R.D. 1993. Monophyly of the Grammatidae and of the Notograptidae, with evidence for their phylogenetic positions among perciforms. Bulletin of Marine Science 52(1): 327-350 figs 1-15

Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. 2006. Fishes. In, Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 35. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp. [1073]

Johnson, G.D. 1984. Percoidei: development and relationships. pp. 464-498 figs 254-264 in Moser, H.G. et al. (eds). Ontogeny and Systematics of Fishes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists. Special Publication 1: 1-760

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1989. Revision of the jawfish genus Stalix (Pisces: Opistognathidae), with descriptions of four new species. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 141: 375-407 figs

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 2004. Descriptions of Six New Species of Jawfishes (Opistognathidae: Opistognathus) from Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 56: 209-224

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 2009. Three new species of Indo-Pacific jawfishes (Opistognathus: Opistognathidae), with the posterior end of the upper jaw produced as a thin flexible lamina. Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 15: 69-108

Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 2010. New species of Indo-Pacific jawfishes (Opistognathus: Opistognathidae) from the western Indian Ocean and Red Sea. Smithiana, Publications in Aquatic Biodiversity, Bulletin 12: 39-54


Common Name References

Pollard, J. (ed.) 1980. G.P. Whitley's Handbook of Australian Fishes. North Sydney : Jack Pollard Publishing Pty Ltd 629 pp. [259] (Grinners, Harlequins, Jawfish, Missing Links, Monkeyfish, Pugs, Smiler)


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
23-Nov-2012 23-Nov-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)