Chaetodontoplus niger is a fish so seldom seen and so little is known about, that the word rare is quite simply, an extreme understatement. It is possibly the rarest member of the Chaetodontoplus genus, along with C. ballinae. There have been more accounts and photographs of Genicanthus personatus than there are of this fish. Very little is known about it and there have been only a few photographs of the fish available for viewing. The photos you see here are possibly some of the best out there of this fish in the wild.
The photos were taken by a group of divers exploring the scene around Oak Island, Japan. According to their diving log, this juvenile fish was sighted at a depth of 114 feet with water temperatures around 22-23 degrees celsius. The depth in which this fish occurs in is quite sketchy, with varying accounts between 131-262 feet. Its natural range includes the South China seas and Japan. A possible reason for this individual being sighted at a relatively shallow depth (considerably, for this species) of 114 feet may be due to the cool water temperatures of Oak Island. Otherwise, it usually lives much deeper in other parts of its range where the waters are warmer.
Perhaps the most unique feature of this otherwise solid black fish are the large white pelvic fins that stick out with such obviousness. The direct conflict of black and white adds to the enigma and overall stunning attribute of the fish, while at the same time, giving it a rather comical and cartoonish look. Add in the bright yellow tail edged in black and it’s almost too beautiful to be true.
The rarity of this fish is so unfathomable that most wouldn’t even dare dreaming of owning one. For now, these absolutely stunning photographs of this fish will have to suffice. It truly is a breath of fresh air seeing these new photos of a fish that has been described since 1966.