Morphology Data of Opistognathus variabilis
Identification keys
Main Ref. Smith-Vaniz, W.F., 2009
Appearance refers to
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs
Different appearance
Different colors

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features
Body shape lateral elongated
Cross section oval
Dorsal head profile
Type of eyes
Type of mouth/snout
Position of mouth
Type of scales

This species is distinguished by the following characters: elongate supramaxilla and posterior end of maxilla produced as a thin flexible lamina, varying from moderate to well-developed; usually a single black stripe (well-developed in fish with elongate jaws but only slightly in those with relatively short jaws) at the inner lining of upper jaw and adjacent membranes; lateral-line ends below verticals between segmented dorsal-fin rays 3-6 (typically fourth or fifth); body with about 68-83 oblique scale rows; caudal vertebrae 19-20 (rarely 20), except only 18 in fish from northern Palawan. There are several color morphs that exist (geographic variations) (Ref. 81517).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Opistognathus variabilis

Lateral Lines Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only)
Gill rakers
on lower limb 19 - 24
on upper limb 10 - 15
total 29 - 39
preanal 10 - 10
total 28 - 30


Dorsal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Finlets No. Dorsal   
Spines total 11 - 11
Soft-rays total 14 - 16
Adipose fin

Caudal fin


Anal fin(s)

Fins number
Spines total 3 - 3
Soft-rays total 14 - 16

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  
Spines     1
Soft-rays   19 - 20
Pelvics Attributes  
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Capuli, Estelita Emily
Modified by Valdestamon, Roxanne Rei
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cfm script by eagbayani, 17.10.00, php script by rolavides, 13/03/08 ,  last modified by sortiz, 06.27.17