The highly elusive and beautiful Bodianus opercularis surfaces in Hong Kong

By on Apr 17, 2012

A juvenile Bodianus opercularis. A very hard to find size for a fish that's already so rare. Picture by Coral Treasure, HK.

The Bodianus hogfishes get loads of quality air time here at ReefBuilders, and for good reason. Hogfish are gorgeous, rare, easy to keep and overall a group of very hardy fish that can withstand the rumble and tumble of a little rough handling. Of all the rare hogfishes we’ve mentioned before, Bodianus opercularis and its allopatric cousin B. neopercularis are probably the least talked about.

Coral Treasure from Hong Kong just scored a juvenile Bodianus opercularis from Maldives today. Already a super rare fish, the fact that this specimen showed up as a juvenile is on a whole other level of unreal. The fish above being held briefly out of water measures in at only three fingers length. A size that is totally desirable, not that anyone’s being picky!

As mentioned before, Bodianus opercularis is the Indian Ocean representative of two, almost identical species. The sister species Bodianus neopercularis hails from the Pacific Ocean. Most, if not all B. opercularis are colleted from Mauritius, where they are very rarely caught alongside deeper water species like Plectranthias pelicieri, Cirrhilabrus sanguineus and Paracheilinus piscilineatus. This little guy however, came from the more familiar Maldives. Shipments from Maldives are much more regular than Mauritius ones, and if this B. opercularis came from there, then they may actually stand a chance of re-appearing again in the near future.

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