Cirrhilabrus sp. 1, known commonly as the Nahacky’s fairy wrasse, has been officially described by Dr. Hiroyuki Tanaka and Fenton Walsch in the latest issue from the International Journal of ichthyology as Cirrhilabrus nahackyi. For a while now the “used-to-be-undesrcibed” fairy wrasse has been entering the trade in small numbers, and was known amongst the reefing community as either the aforementioned nahacky’s wrasse, or the tongan flame wrasse. The wrasse was named after Tony Nahacky, who first caught this specimen in Fiji a few years back.
The nahacky’s fairy wrasse bears close similarities to Cirrhilabrus bathyphilus, which in itself, consists of a few variations. In the first picture headlining the article, the three common forms of C. bathyphilus is shown. The most common form of course being the one from Efate Island of Vanuatu, where the distinct read head separated from the yellow body gives it the very apt common name, the “Hooded Fairy Wrasse”.
There exists also another variant from Tanna Island, which possesses a horizontal red stripe along the body. Coral Sea Hooded Fairy Wrasses differ from the rest by the absence of a visible “hood”. C. nahackyi closely resembles the Coral Sea variant of C. bathyphilus. Apart from the obvious color difference between C. bathyphilus and C. nahackyi, the latter also possess an elongated first and second dorsal spine in terminal male specimens. C. nahackyi is found in both the Fijian regions and Tonga.
Cirrhilabrus nahackyi have been offered in small amounts in the trade in recent years and it is one of the few examples whereby hobbyists get to enjoy a brand new undescribed species way before the scientific community officially puts the name down in ink.
A big thanks once again to Dr. Hiroyuki Tanaka for sharing with us many pictures and information regarding this species as well as Cirrhilabrus bathyphilus and a great job with the description, adding another official species to the ever growing list of Cirrhilabrus wrasses. Now to get to work on the other yet to be described ones! We’re always excited to see what cool new names these fishes are going to get!