Synchiropus occidentalis is a very rare species of dragonet from West Australia which is so seldom seen that very, very few pictures of this fish exist, let alone any video evidence. Like the green and spotted mandarin dragonets, Synchiropus occidentalis is endowed with psychadelic color and pattern which gives this West Australia fish a crazy looking pattern. Thanks to some amazing pictures and video from Vebas Aquarium in Perth Australia we can also enjoy the exquisite beauty of Synchiropus occidentalis.
Compared to the typical green spotted mandarin, Synchiropus picturatus, the West Australian dragonet Synchiropus occientalis is a more mustard green to orange-yellow color overall with the same psychadelic rings of blue and black. However Synchiropus occidentalis also bears numerous fine blue spots all over the body, black fins with their own starry night of blueish spots and additional spots and fine lines on the face which give the West Australia Dragonet a very distinct head-on appearance from its ‘Pterosynchiropus’ congeners.
Depending on who you ask, the mandarin gobies (which are dragonets, not gobies) are part of a separate genus called Pterosynchiropus and there are some ichthyologysts who believe that Synchiropus occidentalis is just a subspecies of Synchiropus picturatus with a distinct coloration and a restricted range from West Australia. If American marine fish breeders ever got their hands on Synchiropus occidentalis you can bet your fish money that someone would be hard at work getting this amazing species to breed.
We’ve been infatuated with this particular species ever since it adorned the cover of Helmut Debelius’ seminal World Fishes atlas with just one lonely photograph to illustrate the beautiful Synchiropus occidentalis and very little else to go on. If we can get corals from West Australia all day long and even other exquisite West Australia fishes like the true personifer angelfish, Chaetodontoplus personifer and Lennard’s wrasse Anampses lennardi can be collected and shipped from West Australia, there is some hope yet that we may see Synchiropus occidentalis in the future. Maybe some day. [Advanced Aquarist]
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