Feature - Spotted Knifejaw
two days into our journey and we have encountered a number
of interesting organisms.
Oplegnathus punctatus (Temminck and Schlegel, 1844)
knifejaws are rare in the main Hawaiian Islands, the dive
crews have begun encountering large individuals. A two-
foot long knifejaw is hard to miss. They are usually observed
as solitary animals or found in small groups. The strong,
intimidating teeth of these fish are actually used for crushing
mollusks, barnacles and other hard shelled animals. They
may also eat some seaweeds.
knifejaw family (Oplegnathidae) has an interesting distribution.
They are not tropical, but anti-tropical. Look up the following
places on a map and note the pattern: knifejaws are found
in South Africa, South Australia, Japan and Hawai'i, the
Galapagos Islands and south to Chile.
this trip so far, we have seen these fish at Nihoa and Mokumanamana
(Necker). We expect to continue to encounter them as we
move up the chain.
from: Shore Fishes of Hawai'i, John Randall, 1996 and Alan