Bodianus neopercularis, a Pacific ocean species. Picture taken by Hisayuki Ohnuma, from Rudie Kuiter's book on LABRIDAE Fishes
The genus Bodianus
has got to be one of the the favorites amongst reefers and fish lovers alike. They’re robust, hardy, have so much personality and not to mention beautiful. Here at ReefBuilders, we’ve already covered many of the rarer members of this genus such as B. masudai
, B. paraleucosticticus
and B. sanguineus.
If you think the peppermint hogfish (Bodianus sepiacaudus) is pretty, then you ain’t seen nothing yet. The popular peppermint hogfish can’t hold a candle to the gorgeous B. neopercularis as shown in the video and picture above. B. neopercularis is a relatively new species, being only officially described in 2006. The gaudily colored hogfish inhabits the waters of the Western Pacific, from Southern Japan to Indonesia, and oceanic reefs including the Marshall Islands and Palau. Before its official description in 2006, B. neopercularis was thought to be the same species as the almost identical B. opercularis. Unlike the former, B. opercularis is an Indian Ocean species, and the range of these two species do not overlap.
Bodianus opercularis and Plectranthias pelicieri from Mauritius, Indian Ocean. Notice the thinner red band on the anal fin of B. opercularis as compared to B. neopercularis on the top right. Picture by BlueHarbor
While both are equally rare and highly sought after in the trade, they’re not impossible to obtain and a few specimens have entered the aquarium trade in the past.
Two highly sought after species from the Mauritius, Indian Ocean. Centropyge debelius and Bodianus opercularis. Picture from Kiyoshi Endoh's Angelfishes of the world.
Of course, almost all specimens captured have made their way to Japan, as seen by the picture above from BlueHarbor. Both species may look identical at first glance, but they can be differentiated from the anal fin and the tail. B. neopercularis has a thicker red band on the anal fin while B. opercularis has a thinner one.
While the difference between the two is minute, it just goes to show how little it takes to warren the differentiation of two species. We don’t know how different the two species are genetically, but based on appearance, its safe to say that they’re almost carbon copies of each other.