A while back we wrote on Cirrhilabrus exquisitus and its numerous forms scattered throughout the world, with each variant representing that particular geographical region with a unique coloration. The japanese variation of C. exquisitus is not nearly as stunning as those form other locations but when it flashes and shows off its nuptial coloration, it gives without a doubt, the rest of its counterparts a run for their money. Keep reading for more pictures of this seldom seen japan endemic variant.
What makes the japanese variation unique is the lack of pink that most variants of this species possess. The normal coloration of this species from this area is mainly a solid green. Larger more terminal males may have splashes of red and yellow here and there. To add on to this uniqueness, this variation of the exquisite wrasse has a very unique nuptial color pattern that is very different from the rest of its cousins found elsewhere in the world.
When in full display, males intensify in color and the yellow or red pigments intensify in color. That depends on how much there is in the first place and varies from fish to fish, but one thing that remains the same for all specimens in this geographical niche is the bi-coloration of the dorsal fin when they “flash”. The black patch on the posterior dorsal fin is unique to this form and is seen in no other variants. The front half of the dorsal fin lightens during display and often extends toward the body as well.
The genus Cirrhilabrus contains well over 50 species and the waters of Japan are home to only a small fraction. Small fraction it may be but the species count to beauty ratio is very high in this area. Cirrhilabrus katoi, C. lanceolatus, C. lunatus, C. cf lanceolatus and this japanese form of the exquisite wrasse are five very pretty fish. Beauty is second only to the difficulty in obtaining any one of these. Could it be a case where the grass is just greener on this side? Or are the waters of Japan some mystical soup where everything that grows there turns out impossibly beautiful and impossibly out of reach. Case in point, Centropyge interrupta, Chaetodon daedalma, Pseudanthias leucozonus, Genicanthus takeuchii, Sacura magaritacea, Tosanoides flavofasciatus and the list goes on.
Search More: cirrhilabrus • cirrhilabrus exquisitus • exquisite wrasse • geographical • Japan • variation • wrasse