Yellowhead Jawfish

Yellowhead Jawfish might be called the magicians of Caribbean sea creatures because they are quick to disappear and just as quick to reappear. When snorkeling Key West waters, divers can easily miss out on seeing these timid fish because they feel most comfortable staying hidden in their burrows. And when they do peek out from their secure holes, they can quickly slide back in should a predator or inquisitive snorkeler intrude on their privacy. The body of these elusive creatures tend to be ivory throughout the body and fins, tinged with blue. They have huge bulging eyes which almost make the Yellowhead Jawfish look like something designed by a cartoon animator.

One of the most enjoyable activities when snorkeling Key West tropical waters is to patiently wait a few feet away from the colony's burrow. Soon enough a Yellowhead Jawfish will appear, spiting sand out of his tiny mouth as he renovates his burrow in between plucking particles of food from the water. Divers who see a Yellowhead Jawfish that looks like it has a mouthful of caviar are likely looking at one of the male of the species carrying fertilized eggs in their mouths. On a regular basis, the male has to spit out the eggs, then suck them back into their resting place in order to give them air and help them to thrive. Snorkelers should keep their gaze focused on the sand for a few minutes and their patience will be rewarded with the sight of the head of one or more of these unusual Yellowhead Jawfish popping out for a quick appearance.