Jawfish are named for their humorously large mouths, which serve several important functions.
For catching food, of course — little bits of food and small swimming creatures that float by its burrow. And for digging burrows — taking big mouthfuls of sand and spitting them out as they create their hideaways.
But jawfish are also mouthbrooders, meaning a parent fish will use their mouth to hold eggs until they hatch. Jawfish are also known to be monogamous, with pairs digging adjacent burrows and sometimes sharing or switching burrows . Males are the responsible brooder, and will hold a clutch of eggs in their mouth for 5 to 7 days — all the while looking like a chump with a mouth full of sticky marbles.
During this period the male cannot feed, meaning mouthbrooding fish are underweight by the time the eggs hatch.
Once the eggs have hatched, the fish will spend a period of time feeding and recuperating.
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