Opistognathus n. sp.

Common Name

Bluebar Jawfish

Year Described



Dorsal Fin: XI, 14-18
Anal Fin: III, 14-17
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Pectoral Fin: 18-21
Gill Rakers: 40-62 (lower limb of first arch)
Vertebrae: 10 precaudal, 15-17 caudal; 25-27 total

Maxilla of males without thin, flexible posterior extension. Jaws huge; reaching well past rear margin of orbit. Premaxillary and dentary with teeth. Vomer with 0-2 teeth. Lateral line extends posteriorly to between 5th and 8th segmented dorsal ray. Nape, head, pectoral base, and area above lateral line scaleless. Rest of body fully scaled. Lateral scale rows: 81-94. Dorsal fin spines slender with sharp, flexible tips. Anterior nostril without a cirrus. Median fins broad and rounded. Pelvic fin very elongate. Caudal fin large and rounded.


Body pearly white with faint blue to turquoise hues, and faint white chevrons on mid-side. Head whitish with a straw yellow band running through eye onto jaw. A conspicuous vertical blue line behind orbit and other scattered blue markings around mouth. Anterior dorsal fin turquoise, grading to bright blue rearward. Rest of fins bright blue. Pectoral fin whitish.


Maximum size to 97mm SL.


A shallow water jawfish living in sandy bottoms. Hovers vertically over burrows in substrate.


Known only from the southern Caribbean Sea and northern South America.


Smith-Vaniz, W. F. 1997. Five new species of jawfishes (Opistognathus: Opistognathidae) from the western Atlantic Ocean. Bulletin of Marine Science v. 60 (3): 1074-1128.

Other Notes

This species is closely related to Opistognathus aurifrons and the characters that differentiate it from that species have not been formally described besides color differences. The meristic, size, and habitat characters are therefore shown as identical to O. aurifrons until the Bluebar Jawfish is described.