The Prognathodes butterflyfishes are an underrated and seldom kept group of fishes that surely deserves some quality air time. While commoner species such as P. marcellae, P. aculeatus and P. aya make it into the trade from time to time, the majority are much less seldom seen and costs many more times than your standard Chaetodontid. P. guyanensis, P. basabei and the increasingly unobtainable P. brasiliensis are examples of the lesser seen members to this genus.
As with any other group of fish, there are bound to be some unobtainable ones that one can only dream of owning. P. falcifer and P. carlhubbsi are two that belong to the above mentioned group. Another two very similar but even lesser known species that are also out of reach are Prognathodes obliquus and P. dichrous. These two stunning fish in monochrome hail from the Atlantic, with P. obliquus found only in St. Paul’s Rocks and P. dichrous found only in the Ascension islands.
The locality in which they inhabit has obviously made them unavailable to the masses. P. obliquus, being a “brazilian” endemic is prohibited from being exported. The endemicity to St. Paul’s Rocks where the funky colored queen angels live makes collection all the more difficult, even if collection was allowed. P. dichrous on the other hand, is a resident to the Ascension islands. For as long as no wild caught resplendent angelfish appear in the trade, you can forget about ever seeing one for sale again. Sure, maybe one day we’ll see some illegal ones sneaking their way into the trade. It hasn’t happened in years and probably never will.
Willing to try your hand on some pretty Prognathodes? As mentioned above, a few species are commonly offered for sale and are worth a try. You’ll enjoy these moderately easy fish to keep with unique swimming behavior. That is, if you’re a butterflyfish fan. But until then, here’s one last picture for the diehards. Perhaps the only hybrid Prognathodes to be documented and entered the trade. P. aya X P. guyanensis, courtesy of Kevin Kohen of LiveAquaria.