Abrolhos Jawfish, Opistognathus alleni Smith-Vaniz 2004

Abrolhos Jawfish, Opistognathus alleni. Source: Randy Mooi / University of Manitoba. License: All rights reserved


A small jawfish found only on inshore reefs in Western Australia.

Identifying features:

  • Body light yellowish-brown with a dark chocolate-brown stripe along midsides
  • Dorsal and anal fins with a dark chocolate-brown stripe
  • Pale to white spots on cheek, gill cover, pectoral-fin base and below midlateral stripe
  • Spinous dorsal fin ten spines, a broad dark submarginal stripe and pale fleshy tabs on spine tips

  • Cite this page as:
    Dianne J. Bray, Opistognathus alleni in Fishes of Australia, accessed 06 Oct 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3494

    Abrolhos Jawfish, Opistognathus alleni Smith-Vaniz 2004

    More Info


    Meristic features:

  • Dorsal-fin X, 19 (rarely 20)
  • Anal-fin II, 17–18 (typically 18)
  • Pectoral-fin rays 19-20
  • Caudal fin: procurrent rays 4–5+3–5
  • Caudal fin: segmented rays 8+8, middle 12–14 branched, total elements 23–26
  • Vertebrae: 10+22 (10+23 in one of 35 specimens)
  • Gill rakers 8-10 + 16-18 = 24-28
  • Oblique scale rows in longitudinal series: about 21-31
  • Etymology

    The species is named alleni in honour of Dr Gerald R. Allen, who recognized the species as being undescribed, for making the material available and for his contributions to the knowledge of Indo-Pacific fishes.

    Species Citation

    Opistognathus alleni Smith-Vaniz 2004, Rec. Aust. Mus. 56: 210, figs 1, 2A, 3A, 4A. Type locality: Western Australia, Houtman Abrolhos Archipelago, N. end of Dicks Island, in Goss Passage, 28°30'S 113°46'E, 30–32 m.


    Dianne J. Bray

    Abrolhos Jawfish, Opistognathus alleni Smith-Vaniz 2004


    Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum 201 pp., 70 pls (as Opistognathus sp)

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

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37388011

    Behaviour:Lives in burrows

    Biology:Males - mouth brooders

    Depth:0-33 m

    Habitat:Reef associated

    Max Size:7.4 cm SL


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