The snow basslet, Serranus chionaraia, is a beautiful and interesting deepwater basslet from the Carribean Sea. As with many of these curiosities of the rare fish world, the snow basslet above was recently collected by Dynasty Marine and sent to Old Town Aquarium. We didn’t know what to expect when Jim first started telling us about the snow basslet but once we saw the pictures, we could not help but see a striking resemblence between this fish and the Pacific Ocean Plectranthias pelicieri.
Granted, the pelicieri basslet is much more colorful than the snow basslet, but when you compare the ornate markings of the fins and the white stripe arching across the dorsal part of the body, it’s easy to believe these two distantly related fish species have some form of convergent evolution going on. The pelicier basslet may be more colorful overall, but the snow basslet does sport an attractive blue girdle on it’s face below the eye which is much more noticeable in person.
The snow basslet is a beautiful species which only grows to 2″/5cm in length and any rare reef fish collector worth their weight in salt would be thrilled to acquire such a fascinating and extrememly rare species. Old Town Aquairum only has one specimen in stock but we hope we can spread the word about the snow basslet so that Dynasty Marine will be encouraged to collect more of these Serranus for the aquarium trade.
Huge thanks to Jim Walters of Old Town Aquarium for the scoop and the pictures and to Forrest Young of Dynasty Marine for a detailed account of the habitat where Serranus chionaraia, the snow basslet was caught from, all of which can be found after the break.
From Forrest Young:
The snow bass we caught came from a low hard bottom area in 175′. This area protrudes out of the sand about 12-15″ and you do not need much to attract fishes. There are a few holes and a low ledge about 10″ high. The orangeback bass live in the center of the harder substrate around small rocks and holes and the snow bass live on the edges near to the place where it falls off a few inches to sand.