The French Butterflyfish, Prognathodes guyanensis, is an extremely rare deepwater Caribbean butterflyfish which has very seldomly been collected for the aquarium trade. Most fish books list this species as being widespread in the Caribbean and absent from Florida, but recently, some intrepid deep diving fish collectors have begun to see and collect this fish in Southern Florida along with the closely related species, the Banks Butterflyfish, Prognathodes aya. Aside from the French butterflyfish which made it to House of Fins a couple months back, this is the first specimen offered publicly for rare fish collectors in the U.S. As if the rarity of the French Butterflyfish wasn’t enough, LiveAquaria is also holding and conditioning a suspected hybrid between the French and Banks butterflyfishes. Follow the break for a whole lot more information about the recent influx of Prognathodes butterflyfishes.
The Prognathodes butterflyfishes are mostly restricted to deep water habitats which require a lot of time, experience and skill to collect ornamental marine aquarium fish. For example, the French Butterflyfish from LiveAquaria is selling for a cool $1299.99 plus shipping and even the more commonly available Banks Butterflyfish sells for $399 or $1299 for a pair also from LiveAquaria. The closely related orange-margin butterflyfish, P. basabei commands a similarly exclusive pricing. With this stratospheric coinage, there’s no telling how much the irreplacebale suspected hybrid of the two fish will sell for. Above and below you can see the suspected hybrid which shows a little bit of muddied coloration in the rear margin of the dorsal and anal fins. Furthermore, this fish looks more like a French butterflyfish in pattern yet it also has the bright yellow pelvic fins of the banks butterflyfish. There is no question that this unusual fish is a very interesting specimen but there is no telling what kind of coloration it will develop in adulthood.
This French Butterflyfish is well settled in to it’s Japanese home in a deepwater marine fish biotope that includes other butterflyfish and anthias. Photo from Blue Harbor.