The Rowley Shoals is a group of atolls located south of the Timor Sea, NorthWest of Australia. The undisturbed reefs of Rowley Shoals really speak for themselves in the video above. Check out the awesome male Pseudanthias tuka with the incredible yellow dorsal fin. Apart from the standard reef fare, the Rowley Shoals is home to some pretty exclusive species found nowhere else in the world, which sadly, did not make the cut in that short video.
Meet Conniella apterygia, a Cirrhilabrus-esque fish that’s endemic to the surrounding area. The monotypic genus Conniella boasts of only one species, and it is sometimes called the mutant wrasse. For obviously freaky reasons. C. apterygia possess no pelvic fins, as well as any internal pelvic structure. The slender fish bears a striking resemblance to Cirrhilabrus earlei, except males of this species possess a rhomboid tail instead.
Also sharing the endemism to Rowley Shoals and surrounding areas is Cirrhilabrus randalli. A species not yet encountered in the trade and bears a close resemblance to other members in the “Cirrhilabrus solorensis” complex. The yellow lateral stripe is a homage to Cirrhilabrus luteovittatus of the Marshall Islands and Micronesia. These endemic fishes including Pseudanthias sheni and the pristine reefs of the Rowley Shoals and surrounding reefs have made this area particularly unique and interesting. The lack of collection facilities means that we won’t be seeing these fishes in the trade, but you could visit them in their natural habitat the next time you plan on taking a dive there.