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Wisdom Wednesday 07/15/20

Shore Buddies Wisdom Wednesday

Image of a male yellowhead jawfish holding eggs in his mouth from Instagram user Michael Patrick O'Neill

Image by Michael Patrick O'Neill

The Yellowhead Jawfish is a spunky small species that is prone to be bullied by larger fish. With this species, the male assumes all parental responsibilities and will incubate and protect hundreds of tiny eggs in his mouth for about 10 days until the babies hatch. To mix and aerate their eggs, males occasionally partially spit out and quickly suck clutches back in, a behavior known as churning. This extra special care results in more fry surviving the crucial first days of life. It takes an adult yellowhead jawfish about 8 hours to construct a new burrow. Jawfishes stabilize the entranceway to their burrow with rocks and shell fragments. To protect their turf, jawfishes occasionally spit mouthfuls of sand at small intruders. Before bedding down for the night, yellowhead jawfishes cover the entrance to their burrow with rocks to prevent home invasions.

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