Randall’s tilefish, Hoplolatilus randalli, is a spanking new species of reef fish which was just described in the latest issue of Aqua. The new Randall’s tilefish was described by Gerald Allen, Mark V. Erdmann and Alison M. Hamilton from thirteen samples collected over a fairly broad range; Banda Islands, West Papua Indonesia, Luzon in the Northern Phillipines, Palau, Yap and the Solomon Islands all contributed specimens to the description of Hoplolatilus randalli. The new tilefish species is related to popular aquarium species such as the purple tilefish (H. purpureus) and the flashing tilefish (H. chupatlyi) yet it was previously confused with similarly colored species from the Indian Ocean, Hoplolatilus fronticinctus, which we don’t be live has been imported for ornamental aquariums before.
Hoplolatilus randalli is distinguished by a simple color differences like the overall greenish coloration, a distinct caudal fin shape and longer dorsal fin spines and rays in H. randalli than H. fronticinctus. Molecular analysis of different genetic markers was also used to distinguish Randall’s tilefish as a distinct species. We may not yet enjoy exports of reef fish from West Papua, Yap or Palau but it’s possible that this species could turn up in shipments from the Phillipines or the Solomon Islands which both ship out a fair amount of corals and fish for the ornamental trade on a daily basis. If the image above is any indication, Randall’s tilefish could be a popular species if it ever makes it into the aquarium trade.