The Dampier Wrasse, Whitleychoeres brownfieldi sp #1, is an interesting new wrasse which hails from the Dampier archipelago of Australia’s North Western coast. We’ve seen only one specimen of the Dampier Wrasse make it to the Japanese Aquarium outfit B-Box Aquarium but this is the first time that the undescribed species has ever landed in the US. Only a handful of these beautiful Whitleychoeres are available to retailers but thankfully many of these appear to be studly males which are on the verge of showing off some amazing coloration. On a side note, Whitleychoeres is a new designation that has been proposed by Rudy Kuiter in his wrasse books but this is not a widely accepted division of the genus Halichoeres.
What is particularly neat about having access to a new aquarium species like this is that there is no telling how dull or how vivid the fish could become. The aquarists that make the plunge and take a leap of faith with their money and their aquarium time could be rewarded with a show quality male wrasse the likes of which has never been documented. Another thing to note is that just because the species is available now, Western Australia is by no means a regular aquarium fish collecting area, so these could become more common or we may not see them again for years, there’s no telling. By the way, these are some of the only pictures of living Whitleychoeres available anywhere so huge thanks to Russo’s Reef for sharing these rare photographs.
update: it has been brought to our attention that this fish is NOT W. brownfiledi from Southwest Australia but a probable new closely related species which hails from Northwest Australia.