Animal Species:Knifejaw, Oplegnathus woodwardi (Waite, 1900)

The Knifejaw has teeth in both jaws that are fused into a parrot-like beak. The species is most commonly found in the Great Australian Bight.

Knifejaw caught off Eden, New South Wales

Tom Trnski © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Knifejaw

Alternative Name/s

Conway, Hoofjaw, Horseshoe-jaw, Parrot Fish

Identification

The Knifejaw has teeth in both jaws that are fused into a parrot-like beak. It is brown to yellow-grey above and pale below. The sides are crossed by five dark bars. The first passes through the eye and the last crosses the caudal peduncle.

Size range

The species grows to at 48 cm in length.

Distribution

The species lives in temperate marine waters of southern Australia, from the New South Wales central coast to the central coast of Western Australia. It is most common in the Great Australian Bight.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Oplegnathus woodwardi

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Knifejaw specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The Knifejaw is usually found in offshore waters in depths from 50 m to 400 m. Young fish are sometimes found in shallow inshore waters.

Classification

Species:
woodwardi
Genus:
Oplegnathus
Family:
Oplegnathidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Glover. C.J.M. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Knifejaw, Oplegnathus woodwardi, Oplegnathidae, brown, yellow, grey, 'normal fish', 30 cm - 1 m, stripes or bands, countershaded, coastal, marine, adult, black stripes or bands,