Classification / Names
Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa
Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Perciformes
(Perch-likes) > Opistognathidae
Etymology: Opistognathus: Greek, opisthe = behind + Greek, gnathos = jaw (Ref. 45335); variabilis: Name from Latin 'variabilis', refers to the highly variable color pattern and jaw morphology of this species.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; pelagic-neritic; depth range 0 - 37 m (Ref. 81517). Tropical
Indo-West Pacific: from the eastern Indian Ocean (Maldive Islands and Sri Lanka)
and throughout most of the central western Pacific, including the Ruykyu Islands and Palau.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 9.6 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 81517)
Morphology | Morphometrics
soft rays: 14 - 16;
Vertebrae: 28 - 30. 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).
Found in sand/rubble bottoms in 0-37 m (Ref 90102).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Smith-Vaniz, W.F., 2009. Three new species of Indo-Pacific jawfishes (Opistognathus: Opistognathidae), with the posterior end of the upper jaw produced as a thin flexible lamina. Aqua, Int'l. J. Ichthyol. 15(2):69-108. (Ref. 81517)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744)
CITES (Ref. 115941)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates of some properties based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 25.3 - 29.3, mean 28.6 (based on 2512 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00389 (0.00180 - 0.00842), b=3.12 (2.94 - 3.30), in cm Total Length, based on all LWR estimates for this body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 3.5 ±0.5 se; Based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months ().
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low vulnerability (10 of 100) .