Pic o’ the Week, Father’s Day Edition: Quite A Mouthful

“Mouthbrooding male fish are truly the ultimate stay-at-home dads. ‘Paternal buccal incubation’ may be a mouthful, but so is carrying every single one of your babies inside your mouth. Depending on the species, paternity leave lasts anywhere from a week (jawfish) to a month (cardinalfish) …” ~Lindsey Dougherty

Yellowhead Jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons) with eggs.
Photo by Kevin Bryant DMD, Licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 

All around the world, and even under the sea, fathers find different ways to care for their young. The yellow-headed jawfish (Opistognathus aurifrons) is perhaps one of the most attentive fathers, because while it is nursing its young, it can’t eat! That’s because Jawfish are known as mouthbrooders — creatures that incubate eggs in the male’s mouth.

For an informative and entertaining essay on the jawfish, and other mouthbrooders, check out Lindsey Dougherty’s “Daddy Day Care Underwater” in Scientific American.

~By Rohan Walker Pandhi, Oceanwire Youth Correspondent

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