Opistognathus robinsi

Common Name

Spotfin Jawfish

Year Described

Smith-Vaniz, 1997


Dorsal Fin: X-XI, 15-18
Anal Fin: II-III, 16-18
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Pectoral Fin: 18-21
Gill Rakers: 28-35 (total)
Vertebrae: 10 precaudal, 19-21 caudal; 29-31 total

Maxilla of males with thin, flexible posterior extension. Jaws large; reaching well past rear margin of orbit. Premaxillary and dentary with teeth. Vomer with 1-5 teeth. Lateral line extends posteriorly to between 1st and 5th segmented dorsal ray. Nape, head, pectoral base, and anterior area above lateral line scaleless. Rest of body fully scaled, including posterior area above lateral line. Lateral scale rows: 73-88. Dorsal fin spines slender with sharp, flexible tips. Anterior nostril with a short cirrus.


Body medium to dark brown with scattered white spots on the body and opercular area. Head brown with small whitish speckling and rosettes. Lips banded with brown. Males with one band on the inside of the maxilla (female with stripe diffuse or absent). Dorsal and anal fins dark brown with numerous white spots (averaging smaller than body spots). Ocellus on dorsal fin between spines 3 and 7. Caudal fin dark with two basal white spots and two bands consisting of white spots.


Adults range from 74-132mm SL.


A shallow living jawfish (1-46m), with most collected in less than 20m. Lives in burrows.


The continental U.S. from South Carolina to eastern Texas. One record from the Bahamas.


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

The sister taxon to this species is Opistognathus signatus from the soutern Caribbean.