Centropyge narcosis has just made its world debut in the Americas thanks to the recent import by aquarium fish powerhouse Quality Marine. The Narcosis angelfish is an extremely rare deepwater reef fish previously believed to be endemic to the Cook Islands. Quality Marine received this single Centropyge narcosis from their short supply chain to the Cook Islands. This individual of Centropyge narcosis was collected at 360 feet after which point it was conditioned to aquarium life for over three weeks before being shipped to Quality Marine.
First discovered at Rarotonga right alongside the famed Peppermint Angelfish, the Narcosis angelfish was so named because Rich Pyle, the original colector of this species, experienced a case of nitrogen narcosis during that dive which kept him from remembering that he had even collected the fish – or that’s the story anyway. Rarely discussed and even more rarely seen, only very recently was Centropyge narcosis discovered outside of the Cook Islands in Tahiti, a little further West in the South Pacific Ocean.
There is little doubt as to where a fish of this caliber will go to in the United States but the bigger question is, what were divers doing at 360 feet in the Cook Islands? Of course Centropyge narcosis is an amazing and jaw-dropping fish but that’s not what divers were looking for – clearly they were going on an egg hunt for the holy grail of all angelfishes, Paracentropyge boylei, the peppermint angelfish. If Cook Island collectors are spending any time in the twilight reef depth of the Cook Islands it will hopefully be only a matter of time before we see a peppermint angelfish or two being collected for the aquarium trade, heck they could be conditioning one as we speak.
Big thanks to Quality Marine for the successful import of the fabled Centropyge narcosis angelfish and for sharing these equally rare and stunning images with our readers.