The dendritic jawfish (Opistognathus dendriticus) is easily identifiable by its color and large size: this jawfish is yellowish brown with dark brown spots and a distinctive brown “eye mask” and can be up to 25 centimeters long.
Most jawfishes are hard to spot, but the dendritic jawfish is an exception and is relatively easy to find, even though only its head is usually visible outside its rock-lined burrow. It makes its burrow by scooping sand and shifting larger rocks with its mouth and powerful jaws.
The mouth of a male dendritic jawfish also has other uses. Remember that unusual way of protecting its eggs that we talked about earlier? As it turns out, the male dendritic jawfish takes care of his eggs by incubating them inside his mouth. Talk about having a big mouth!
Dr. Gerry Allen
Shot in Lagen Island Resort house reef
El Nido Resorts
El Nido, Palawan, Philippines