The South Pacific Ocean is a hotbed of new species right now with Plectranthias flammeus just the latest visually striking reef fish to be thoroughly described. Discovered living in the waters of the Marquesas Islands around French Polynesia, unlike many other newly described Plectranthias, P. flammeus occurs in the relatively shallow waters of 20-45 meters (65-150ft) deep.
Plectranthias flammeus is a visually striking species with a white base coloration and bright yellow markings outlined in a darker maroon ring. The yellow markings are reminiscent of the unknown Plectranthias xanthomaculatus while the shape and dark blotches are more similar to Plectranthias sagamiensis which is occasionally enjoyed in Japanese aquariums.
The new “flaming Plectranthias” is not alone in the Marquesas; in addition to four other known species from this region of French Polynesia, another unknown and undescribed species was observed and caught on camera but not collected. That species appears to have Dr. Seuss Fish style pattern with red spots, a long face and an eye-catching first dorsal fin.
With all this activity of new fish species being described from the South Pacific, we really hope that exports of French Polynesian aquarium fish are possible in the future; there’s currently a trickle of them but we’re dying to see what the South Pacific will turn up next.