Look at this Male Jawfish Incubating Eggs In Its Mouth
by Owen James Burke
Photo by Jim Chambers, Tucker, GA
Jawfish are found all over: in shallow reefs of the Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Using their large jaws to make a tunnel, they fill their mouths with sand and spread it about as they burrow. The tunnel then makes for a refuge and a station for hunting plankton, from which the jawfish can emerge and to which it can retreat. Another function of the extended jaw is that the male is a mouthbrooder, meaning its eggs hatch in its mouth, protecting the tiny offspring from predation and churning them so that they stay clean and aerated. Although the male is left with all of the parental duties, he is relieved after just 5 to 7 days, which is all the time it takes for the eggs hatch.