Reef Fishes: A Quiz Deck on Species and Natural History Packed with Facts for Aquarists, Divers, and Ecotourists
Sample Card Text
I dig burrows in the sand using my mouth, but right now I'm gargling something more fragile.
Answer Opistognathus aurifrons (Jordan & Thompson, 1905)
Using its mouth as a shovel, this comical little fish digs a burrow in the sand, where it hides when danger threatens. It feeds on zooplankton and hovers in the water column above its refuge. It lives in colonies both small and large. Yellowhead males incubate the eggs in their mouths until they hatch, at which time the larvae are spit into the water column. (Male with about-to-hatch eggs shown.)
NATIVE RANGE: Tropical Western Atlantic
MAXIMUM LENGTH: 3.9 in. (10 cm)
MINIMUM AQUARIUM SIZE: 20 gal. (76 L)
AQUARIUM PROFILE: The Yellowhead Jawfish needs a deep bed of substrate (shells, coral sand, rubble of varying sizes) in which it can construct a sturdy burrow. It may jump from an open tank, especially at first, but once it has created a burrow this will be less likely.