The mouth almighty is a freshwater fish typically found in ponds and slow-moving waters of northern Australia. It lurks in dense vegetation, waiting motionless for its next meal. As the name implies, this ambush predator has a large mouth used to engulf any small fish or invertebrate that wanders too close.
However, this cavernous mouth also has a gentler function. When breeding, it is the male that will take up the female’s sack of eggs and incubate them in his mouth for about two weeks. After the eggs hatch, the developing fry will continue to stay in the safety of the male’s mouth for about another week. During this time, the male does not eat.
The mouth almighty is part of the cardinalfish family. This family is primarily marine, but this is one of the freshwater species. Mouthbrooding is found in many of the species of cardinalfish, both freshwater and marine.
Its large mouth allows this predator to ambush and swallow crustaceans, small fish, and insects.
Approximately 4–6 inches
Coastal drainages in northern/northeastern Australia (from the Fitzroy River to Mackay in Queensland)
These fish are common in their range.
Their predators include larger fish, and reptiles and birds large enough to swallow them.
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