Fish mimicking octopus mimicking fish!

By: Mark McGrouther, Category: Science, Date: 05 Jan 2012

The Mimic Octopus (Thaumoctopus mimicus) has been known for some years for its ability to mimic flatfish, lionfish and seasnakes.  A recent discovery in Indonesia adds a whole new twist to this story.  The Black-marble Jawfish (Stalix cf. histrio) mimics the Mimic Octopus. This is believed to allow the small fish to forage in relative safety well away from its burrow.

Chinstrap Jawfish, Opistognathus n. sp

Chinstrap Jawfish, Opistognathus n. sp
Photographer: Jeff Wiilliams © Jeff Williams, USNM

The Harlequin Jawfish, Stalix histrio, occurs in Australian waters. It is known from a few locations in northern Queensland.  A second species of Stalix, the Yellow Jawfish, S. flavida, occurs in north-western waters of Western Australia. More information on jawfishes.

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.

Tags fishes, ichthyology, jawfish, mimic, octopus,