Huge thanks to Reef Solutions Vanuatu for sharing the pictures of a very rare, cryptic pygmy angelfish
The blackspot pygmy angelfish, Centropyge nigrocella, is a fish so cryptic and rare that it is not even discussed among rare fish fanciers. The weird thing about C. nigriocella is that it isn’t rare in the wild; it occurs in regular collection areas well within diving depths. But the reason that the blackspot pygmy angelfish is never seen is that it is the epitome of a reclusive fish.
The blackspot angelfish lives deep within the matrix of the reef and the only specimens ever collected to date had been fished out with the use of sedating chemicals. Until very recently only one image existed of this angelfish species alive. Continue reading for more pictures of this extremely cryptic fish and the story of how this C. nigriocella was caught alive.
These exclusive pictures of Centropyge nigriocella come to us from Reef Solutions Vanuatu, and their account of how this amazing little angelfish surprised the divers who thought they were just collecting flame angelfish in Vanuatu.
This little guy was collected at our Vanuatu station. The diver that collected it was targeting Flame Angels at the time when it swam into his fence net! Pure accident. Very cryptic fish, the location where it was collected (at 10 m) has been one of our regular sites for MANY years and we have never seen that fish. Could likely be mistaken for a damselfish however if seen at a glance. They know what to watch for now but even still, doubtful to see this fish again. My divers have combined experience of well over 80 years and they have never seen this fish before.
Needless to say, this singular specimen of blackspot angelfish is already on its way to Japan where a rare fish collector paid a princely sum for the privilege to own this one of a kind fish. Sure the blackspot angelfish is not going to be winning any popularity contests, it’s not the most colorful fish in the sea, but to angelfish lovers such as ourselves it is a real treat to see additional photos of what Centropyge nigriocella really looks like.
Thanks Matt and Charles!