Oplegnathus punctatus (Temminck & Schlegel, 1844)
     Knifejaws are a small family of subtropical and temperate water fishes with deep, narrow bodies and sometimes striking color patterns. They are also called "false parrotfishes" because their teeth are fused into sharp beaks, used to crush molluscs and other shelled animals. In Hawai`i they they are most common in the northwestern chain; around the main Hawaiian Islands they are rare. This species has a bright white snout and dark gray body densely covered with black spots (most evident on the head and fins). The young are lighter, with more highly contrasting spots. They shelter in caves and under ledges. This is the knifejaw most likely to be encountered by divers in the main Hawaiian Islands. Dan Dickey and I saw this one during the summer of 2000 among the big boulders under the cable at Pai`olu`olu Point at the entrance to Hanauma Bay on the right side. It had been there at least a year, because Dan had seen it the previous summer. Photo: Hanauma Bay, O`ahu. 70 ft. ft. See also Barred Knifejaw.

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Text and photos copyright by John P. Hoover