Plectranthias xanthomaculatus and P. elongatus are two new species of deepwater reef fish which have just been described by Wu, Randall and Chen in the journal Zoological Studies. The two new species of Plectranthias were described based on single specimens of each fish that were caught in deepwater trawls of Southwestern Taiwan at depths between 200-243 m, ~650 to 800 feet! Oddly enough, the two new Plectranthias species were first collected in 2002 and 2004 but they were not recognized as new species until the first author of the new description began cataloging the specimens of the Museum of Zoology of the National Taiwan University.
The yellow-blotched P. xanthomaculatus looks superficially similar to the Borbonius anthias, Odontanthias borbonius, with a reddish pink body color and yellow blotches, and yellow fins. If P. xanthomaculatus was ever collected alive for the aquarium trade we bet the yellow-blotch perchlet would be an extremely sought after fish. Plectranthias elongatus has the most elongated body of any species in the genus Plectranthias. The elongated Plectranthias is characterized by a pale pinkish-white body color with large orange-red spots. Although both pictures of the newly described Plectranthias leave something to be desired, many species of Plectranthias can produce mature adult coloration which is so much brighter than what is seen in average specimens, very much like the Anthias to which Plectranthias are related.
We can still recall our enthusiasm for the Plectranthias genus since the fisrt geometric pixie hawk, Plectranthias inermis, was first made widely available in the aquarium hobby. Since then we’ve seen new and exciting species like Plectranthias pelicieri and Plectranthias nanus appear in the United States courtesy of Greenwich Aquaria, and Plectranthias sagamiensis at Japan’s notorious rare reef fish fanatics Blue Harbor. In any case, we can only hope that we see a continued increase in the appearance of these cool little reef fish they call Plectranthias.