Pearly Jawfish (Opistognathos aurifrons) Breeding Log

Pearly Jawfish (Opistognathos aurifrons) Breeding Log

Postby mpedersen » Thu Jul 05, 2007 9:29 pm

OK, so I dont' have a spawn just yet, but I think things are headed in the right direction. Here's a quick rundown

8-29-06 - added mated pair of "Yellowhead" (Florida Strain)from Ken Nedimyer (SeaLifeInc.net)

9-7-06 - lost one of the 2 in the pair (it jumped and landed on the prefilter sponge where it expired)

1-9-07 - Added a replacement jawfish "Pearly Jawfish" (non-Florida strain)

1-16-07 - Replacement jawfish disappeared (it was totally beaten up on the day prior)

3-11-07 - Added another jawfish, again "Pearly" Jawfish.

4-25-07 - Added CB Jawfish (one of Martin Moe's offspring).

Everything pretty much has been just jawfish doing their thing, mostly cleaning out their burrows and rearranging stuff. Sometime last week, everything went topsy turvy and the jawfish all pulled a musical chairs; the smallest jawfish (CB) moved clear across the tank and took up residence in the largest (WC Yellowhead from the pair) hole. The largest moved clear across the tank and took residence in the Pearly's hole, and the pearly moved back a bit into the CB Juvie's hole.

So that was really interesting...suddenly the two larger jawfish went from being at oposite sides of the 24 gallon nanocube to basically sharing a den...I say basically because they don't reside in the same hole, but 2 holes less than 6" away from each other that possibly connect "underground".

Today I saw something really interesting; the middle sized jawfish was up on the water column, body paralell to the ground, kind-of displaying to the largest one, which in turn was displaying a gaping wide mouth back. It sort of looked like aggression, but then again kind of sounded like courtship.

So I figured it's time to start taking better notes; up until this point I was convinced I didn't have a viable pair in the tank, but that may have changed.

Perhaps the biggest kicker to me is that I *think* we may be able to vent jawfish just like we do with many African Cichlids (i.e. Tropheus sp.). It's hard to say, but I got some good shots of the ventral openings; have a look and let me know what you think.

FWIW, the "Pearly Jawfish" has the two spots on his lower jaw, whereas the Yellowhead does not. The original mate for the Yellowhead Jawfish did not have black dots on the lower jaw (which has been cited as a possible male trait in the past). It seems that the black dots on the jaw may be part of the geographic race of Pearly Jawfish - of course I've also heard it suggested by Ken that the Florida Yellowhead Jawfish and the Carribean Pearly Jawfish are not the same species. I can only say that the Florida Collected Jawfish are far superior in their color to the Pearly Jaws coming out of the Carribean, and it seems that all Florida Jaws lack the lower jaw / chin spots, but that all Carribean Jawfish I've seen in the shops HAVE THEM.

Anyway, take a look at these pics - I'm including the overall shot at a reduced size, followed by a full size version of the image cropped in on the genital / anal openings...

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FWIW,

Matt
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Postby aomont » Fri Jul 06, 2007 10:25 am

Sorry Matt I don´t know how to vent cichlids... What should I see ?
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Re:

Postby DrHsu » Fri Jul 06, 2007 11:51 am

aomont wrote:Sorry Matt I don´t know how to vent cichlids... What should I see ?
Anderson.

Ditto....

I have a "pair" of pearly's and it would be interesting to see if we can vent sex them
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Postby Bandeng » Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:45 pm

I am really impressed with the photos. How did you take those close up? Mine show their belly side seldom.

I had spawnings of "Bluebar Jawfish" a year ago. The male, however, did hold the eggs in his mouth maximum of 3 days only. There was no spawning thereafter. I, then, purchased 3 young Yellowhead Jawfishes. After observing some fightings among them I separated a "pair". The figure below shows the pair. There is marked difference between them in the appearance of their belly. From the experience with Bluebar Jawfish spawnings, I believe the sex determination could possibly be as indicated in the figure. Unfortunately, they have not spawned yet.
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The belly in the male swells at the anterior part, while it is swollen entirely in the female.

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Postby DrHsu » Fri Jul 06, 2007 8:56 pm

Yes....that is why I also think I have a pair - there is a difference in their bellies as shown in your pics.

However, when the come into the stores they are usually all flat bellied! :(
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Re:

Postby mpedersen » Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:23 am

aomont wrote:Sorry Matt I don´t know how to vent cichlids... What should I see ?
Anderson.


Well, there are generally a few differences between male and female anal and urogenital openings. I'm going to generalize here:

1. Spacing between these two openings may be different between male and female; i.e. there may be more distance between the two openings in females.

2. Shape of the urogenital opening/genital papilla - in some species there may be differences in shape, i.e. triangular or elongated in a male...

3. Size. This is usually the obvious one when comparing multiple fish of the same species; in females the urogenital opening is significantly larger than in females, specifically due to the female passing eggs vs. the male who only needs to pass sperm. In Cichlids, this difference is typically more pronounced in mature fish that have already spawned (i.e. wild collected fish).

Here's a great website that shows some examples in African Cichlid species -> http://www.fishhead.com/articles/ventsex.htm

I haven't determined WHETHER this will work on Jawfish yet or not ;)

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Re: Jawfish Venting Picture How-To

Postby mpedersen » Sat Jul 07, 2007 12:29 am

Bandeng wrote:I am really impressed with the photos. How did you take those close up? Mine show their belly side seldom.


I sat and took a lot of pictures; turned my shutter speed up to 1/4000th, used the Flash, and took a LOT of pictures, sorted through them and got a few really good ones, then also used photoshop to return the levels/contrast to "normal".

FWIW,

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Postby mpedersen » Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:19 am

Just a quick note, I may have seen some courtship today, but the wrong sex courting the wrong sex (based on what I think my sexes are). More later..

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Postby mpedersen » Mon Jul 09, 2007 2:56 am

So here's the first quote from Witt's book that I'm going to share with all of ya, regarding courtship in Jawfish.

Courthisp varies....but mostly involves exaggerated swimming, fin flaring high abovbe the burrow, hovering, then dashing suddenly back to...the tunnel. - pg. 210, Wittenrich


Males approach females in a horizontal position. Their fins are flared... - pg. 211, Wittenrich


So I'm not including the whole 9 yards here, wanna support Witt's book and make you all go buy it (but make sure we have our MOFIB Amazon Affiliate program set up first!!!) The jist here, is that the male jawfish will rise into the water column and display all fins flaired in a horizonal position (paralell to substrate, which is atypical for a jawfish which usually hovers in an upright, standing on its tail position). I have seen this occur a couple times now, with the smaller, Pearly jawfish (left one in the picture, dots on the chin) being the one going through what may be considered courtshiplike motions. IF this is courtship, this would make the Pearly Jaw a male, which is what I suspected based on the less "squared off" abdomen and proportionally smaller ventral openings.

HOWEVER, morphologically, it is clear in the pictures that the upper maxilary extends proportionally further towards the gills in the larger, Yellowhead Jawfish when compared to the smaller Pearly Jawfish. Also, the head of the Yellowhead Jawfish looks proportionally larger than the head of the smaller, Pearly Jawfish.

So while the "Pearly" Jawfish appears to be acting like a male and has abdominal / ventral characteristics that I'd typically associate with a male, the "Yellowhead" Jawfish, with a much more rotund build, has the buccal / anterior attributes most often associated with a male.

Perhaps the tie breaker will be when I get some good shots of the smaller, probably immature Captive Bred "Yellowhead" Jawfish that Martin Moe Reared...unfortunately it's a bit more shy than the larger jaws in the tank, so good photos may take some time yet.

FWIW,

Matt[/quote]
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Postby mpedersen » Tue Jul 10, 2007 12:44 am

Wierd stuff going on today. The ballast on the tanklights failed (there goes another $55!). When I got the lights on this evening, I found both of the larger jawfish sharing the same "pit". Not sure what that means..it's not like they were in the burrow together (Although maybe the burrow had collapsed or something)?

Now for the wierd thing; I noticed reddness at the base of the pectoral fins and the anal fin. Kindof worried that some sort of infection might be setting in, and I'm not sure WHY that would be happening either.

That's the news...

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Postby mpedersen » Tue Jul 24, 2007 11:00 pm

So I'm back from getting married. The tanks were out of my care from 7-12 through 7-22. In that time there's been some jawfish updates.

7-22-07 - Returned home and was missing the CB Yellowhead Jawfish; after searching I found the body on top of the mechanical filter sponge, decayed but covered in water...so it's clear the fish jumped and landed there somehow, but I'm not sure how it DIED considering that it was probably covered with water the whole time (unless my caretaker topped off and didn't notice the jawfish body, but honestly it appears it died there from stress).

7-24-07 - This morning, the pearly jaw appeared "puffy" this morning and was the subject of repeated attacks from the large yellowhead jawfish. It appears they are no longer sharing neighboring burrows, but I'm not sure.

Later this evening the pearly jawfish still appears "puffy", i.e. the dorsal fin appears visible swollen, i.e. a water filled sack that's maybe 1-2 mm thick. I'm really not sure what is going on with the pearly jawfish. I.e. imagine that the fish was dipped into clear vasoline or something; that's kind of what this looks like on his body, but I honeslty can't get a really good look.

The pearly is hiding in the vicinity of the Yellowhead jaw as well, I can't tell if they're sharing some larger new burrow that's been dug deep underneath the rockwork or what is going on.

Perhaps the most interesting part is the Yellowhead jawfish. It would appear that an ovipositor has become extended this evening????? I've shot numerous pictures, compare with those above.

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FWIW,

Matt
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Postby mpedersen » Fri Jul 27, 2007 2:24 am

Latest update...I think my pair is actually 2 females. Today, I noticed what looks like an extended ovipositor on BOTH fish. To make things worse, it has become clear that these fish do not like each other...the pearly jawfish has "moved out" and no longer appears to be sharing a burrow with the yellowhead. Furthermore, the yellowhead appears to genuinely dislike the pearly jaw.

So it looks like I have 2 hens and I need a couple roosters, that's my guess for the moment.

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Postby fin farm » Mon Jul 30, 2007 8:55 am

I feel your pain. I have just come to the conclusion that I have 2 males.
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Postby mpedersen » Tue Aug 07, 2007 3:36 pm

So an update, for the last 1.5 weeks or so this "bubble disease" has cropped up on the jawfish. I've started a separate thread to discuss it, but things just aren't looking good for either fish at this point...at least not as breeders. Definitely not going to add any new jawfish in with this going around...

Here's the thread in the Disease Forum -> http://www.marinebreeder.org/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=894

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Postby mpedersen » Wed Aug 22, 2007 1:38 am

So over the last couple days the two remaining jawfish have shared burrows twice, they can't seem to figure out WHAT they're intentions are. Meanwhile, the progression of the skin bubble disease continues unabated, with all the other fish in the tank (pair of onyx percs and 3 fathead anthias) unafflicted.

I'm at a total loss, but at this point considering euthanasia of these two fish as a preventative in case this IS something contagious, or something that could otherwise affect the broodstock clownfish...

FWIW,

Matt
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Postby mpedersen » Mon Dec 03, 2007 12:58 am

12-2-07

I must admit, I am still baffled by my jawfish. I never went the euthanasia route (obviously).

Part of me is surprised they're even still alive. The larger one, the Yellowhead, is now at least 5" in length. The bubble disease problem seems to have "subsided". What really has me mystified is that the 2 jawfish have started sharing the left side of the tank again. The smaller jawfish (a "Pearly") moved from the right side to the left.

A couple days ago, the Larger Yellowhead spent it's day not hovering in its burrow, but out in the open, several inches above the smaller one. This *may* have been signs of courtship, but I didn't observe ANYTHING. More likely, I think the larger one may have been "displaced"? With the size disparity though, I think it would've been the smaller one who should've been without a home?!

Over the last 24 hours, it seems now that both jawfish are definitely sharing a burrow again, at least for the time being. I'm certainly willing to entertain the notion that the Onyx Percs finally "kicked the little one out"...for months now the Pearly has been digging and living in the direct vicinity of the spawning tile, routinely covering the eggs with gravel, making life harder for the male Percula Clown. However, there was never any aggression between the clowns and the jawfish...especially with even the smaller jawfish now being close to 4" in length, twice the size of the male Onyx Perc!

So I'm at a loss. I don't expect anything to come of all this...the swollen abdomen on the Yellowhead Jawfish is a distant memory...these fish look simply like a couple ruffed up has-beens...certainly not the "prime spawning condition mated pair". I'll be keeping an eye on them all the same...but I admit I had written them off as a failed project, especially since there has never been any indication that the two were of the opposite sex!

FWIW,

Matt
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Postby mpedersen » Wed Jan 16, 2008 2:54 pm

1-16-08

These fish continue to mystify me. For the last month or so the "Pearly" jawfish had again moved it's burrow, this time routinely covering the Zooanthids in the vicinity with substrate. It also smoothered the last batch of Onyx Pecula eggs. Frankly, I'm starting to get annoyed.

What may have been a turning point occured today. For reasons unknown, the "Pearly" jawfish decided to leave it's latest burrow and took over the long-standing residence of the "Yellowheaded" Jawfish. It's clear that this did not occur without major objections, as both fish are now extremely tattered and their fins are shredded, the mouth of the "Pearly" is now bloodied as well. In my book, if there was any hope that these two were a pair, I think that just flew out the window.

Harumph!

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Postby mpedersen » Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:02 pm

It's now evening and the yellowhead jawfish is still up in the water column. It is refusing to eat. I've taken some pictures of this tattered fish...frankly it looks worse in person.

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FWIW,

Matt
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Postby tcmfish » Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:06 pm

FWIW, mine just spawned and I have 7 in a tank together and none share a burrow now and since the spawn the male has become aggressive to his female and she has cornered the other what seem to be females. I didn't bother pairing them and the male is now holding eggs. There are also 2 bundoon blennies and a couple pepermint shrimps. They have been together about 2 months and I think a major factor was the temp being at 87.
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Postby mpedersen » Wed Mar 19, 2008 3:02 am

I need to end this thread for now as we lost the Yellowhead (Florida) Jawfish back on 3-4-08. Basically, on 3-3-08, the eye had errupted...may have been from fighting between the two as they maintained their "hot/cold" relationship. On 3-4, I noticed that our green carpet had a big white blob inside of it...by 3-6 the carpet regurgitated the remains of the jawfish. FWIW, the fish was HUGE...probably 4X the body mass of the typical BIG pearly jawfish you might see at a shop.

I *may* or may not reattempt this species...largely depends on how long the pearly stays around, as well as whether I want to deal with the constant gravel moving again (as cute as it it, it's GETS OLD...). I think this tank may better served as a broodstock tank with 2 or 3 tiny species of gobies (maybe a mated pair of cleaners and a pair of Green Clowns or Greenbandeds or something). Or I could always try to find another Blue Star Leopard Wrasse mate for the one we do have!

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Re: Pearly Jawfish (Opistognathos aurifrons) Breeding Log

Postby Beast1961 » Tue Mar 30, 2010 1:36 pm

Have you started a new thread on breeding this fish any where else? Is there a good site to learn how to breed this?
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