Prognathodes carlhubbsi: will the real scythe butterflyfish please swim up?
Prognathodes carlhubbsi is a species of deep cool water butterflyfish which bears a close resemblance to the classic scythe butterflyfish, P. falcifer. The image above is a screencap from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute’s guide to Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific which clearly shows the color and pattern differences between these two sympatric species of Prognathodes. The two big differences between P. falcifer and P. carlhubbsi is the distribution of yellow (it is more vivid and absent from the flank in P. falcifer) and the shape of the inverted “V” which is more angular and reaches the base of the dorsal spines in P. carlhubbsi. The eye and nose stripes of P. carlhubbsi are also much more pronounced and black than for P. falcifer. Furthermore, these two species are more or less geographically isolated with P. falcifer more likely to be found in the north end of the range near the Catalina Islands and Baja whereas P. carlhubbsi can be found in the south end of the range around the Galapagos Islands and Cocos Island. Don’t expect to see this species available in the trde because not only does it inhabit deeper waters that make it harder to catch but both of the species require cold water that stays well below 70 degrees to live and thrive. More shots of both species after the break.
Scythe Butterflyfish- Prognathodes falcifer
Southern Scythe butterflyfish- Prognathodes carlhubbsi- images by Roger Steene