If hybrid butterflfyfish have shown us anything it’s that the recombination of different Chaetodon species can take on many forms. Case in point is this super unusual hybrid Klein’s butterflyfish, Chaetodon kleini crossed with a very rare species for the region. Wayne’s Ocean World obtained this weirdo klein butterflyfish from a Hawaiian fish collector Dennis Yamaguchi who found it in the Waianae area, 60 feet depth, in a habitat of sandstone and scattered Pocillopora corals.
The weirdo hybrid Chaetodon was not swimming with the school of kleini, but hiding down where the coral heads were – very untypical behavior for a Klein’s butterflyfish. Wayne is leaning towards the second parent being a Chaetodon miliaris but the cream colored body and lack of a tail spot pushes us more towards a cross of Chaetodon citrinellus, a very rare species in Hawaii which would help to explain this unusual cross in the first place.
Since this unusual Klein butterflyfish hybrid is barely two inches long there’s no telling what it will look like when it gets older but we have high hopes that the color will become more pronounced. Much as we saw in Rich Pyle’s excellent documentation of that miliaris x tinker butterflyfish cross, butterflyfish hybrids look muddied when young but can develop very discrete coloration as they age. Since this is one uber rare butterflyfish hybrid cross which will be going to the United States through Old Town Aquarium, there’s a good chance that we could receive reports of this fish’s developments as it grows and matures.