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Oplegnathus insignis
© Copyright Roger Steene, 2006 · 0
Oplegnathus insignis
Oplegnathus insignis
© Copyright Roger Steene, 2006 · 0
Oplegnathus insignis
Oplegnathus insignis
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Oplegnathus insignis
© Copyright Roger Steene, 2006 · 0

Main identification features
  • body deep, compressed
  • 1 dorsal fin spines low
  • parrot beak
  • scales: very small, rough


The main distinguishing feature is the parrot-like beak formed from the fused jaw teeth, a similar dentition to that possessed by the parrotfishes (Scaridae). This apparatus is adapted for crushing barnacle shells, molluscs, and sea urchins. Knifejaws also have a dorsal with low spiny part (in adults) with XI-XII, 11-22 soft rays; anal fin III, 11-16; and very small scales.

This small, unusual family contains seven species (all in the genus Oplegnathus) that occur in temperate seas of the Galapagos, Peru, South Africa, southern Australia, and Japan. One south temperate endemic species occurs in the eastern Pacific and enters the southern fringe of our region.

  • Allen , G.R. and Robertson, D.R., 1994., Fishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific., Crawford House Press Pty Ltd:1-332.
  • Béarez, P., 1996., Lista de los Peces Marinos del Ecuador Continental., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 44:731-741.
  • Clark, H.W., 1936., The Templeton Crocker Expedition of the California Academy of Sciences.1932. No. 29. New and noteworthy fishes., Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences (Series 4), 4:21(29):383-396.
  • Edgar, G.J. Banks, S., Fariña, J.M., Calvopiña, M. and Martínez, C., 2004., Regional biogeography of shallow reef fish and macro-invertebrate communities in the Galapagos archipelago., Journal of Biogeography, 31:1107-1124.
  • Hildebrand, S.F., 1946., A descriptive catalog of the shore fishes of Peru., Bull. U.S. Nat. Mus., 189:1-530.
  • Humann, P., 1993., Reef Fish Identification: Galapagos., New World Publishing:192pp.
  • Jimenez-Prado, P., Béarez, P., 2004., Peces marinos del Ecuador continental / Marine fishes of continental Ecuador., SIMBIOE/NAZCA/IFEA tomo 1 y 2.
  • Kner,., 1867., Neue Fische aus dem Museum der Herren J. Cäs. Godeffroy & Sohn in Hamburg., Sitzungsber. Akad. Wiss. Wien, 56:709-728.
  • Nelson, J.S., 1984., Fishes of the World (Third edition)., John Wiley and Sons:523pp.


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