Lonchopisthus higmani

Common Name

Spotcheek Jawfish

Year Described

Mead, 1959


Dorsal Fin: X-XI, 17-19
Anal Fin: III, 16-17
Pectoral Fin: 36-41
Gill Rakers:
Vertebrae: 17-18 caudal
Lateral Scales: 48-61

Body elongate, gracile and compressed (characteristic of Lonchopisthus). Body tapers toward tail. Head large and round with a very large eye. Maxilla extends past eye and has a strong notch on rear margin (not hooked). Dorsal fin long with no notch between spiny and soft portions. Pelvic fin short (up to 33% SL) with first two rays thickened and unbranched and last three rays branched. Caudal fin lanceolate with central rays much longer than top and bottom. Branched caudal rays 11-13. Body scaled. Cheek and opercle with 5-6 scale rows. Supraneural bone present (unique to this species in area).


Body yellowish to gray-brown with several whitish bands on trunk that break up into spots posteriorly. A prominent black ocellus on the cheek. Dorsal and anal fin yellowish with white spots basally and dark gray stripes distally. Mouth membranes blackish.


Maximum size to 126mm SL.


Shallower waters on the bottom (13-99m).


S. Caribbean Sea from Belize to the Guianas (continental margins only).


Smith-Vaniz, W.F. & S.J. Walsh. 2017. Revision of the jawfish genus Lonchopisthus with description of a new Atlantic species (Teleostei: Opistognathidae). Journal of the Ocean Science Foundation, 28, 52-89.

Other Notes

The closest relative to this species is the eastern Pacific L. sinuscalifornicus. They both share the characteristic blotch on the cheek and notched (not hooked) maxilla.