Of all the blennies that can be found in fish stores, the combtooth blennies (Ecenius sp.) are probably the most popular, desirable, hardy and staple of the lot. Many that enter the trade are colorful and cheap enough for all hobbyist young or old, but as with all fish, there lie a few that never make it to our tanks, and Ecsenius oculus is one of them. Hailing from Japan, the ocular blenny is an eclectic blend of spots and stripes, with browns and pinks.
Like all Ecsenius blennies, E. oculus is found in relatively shallow waters and inhabit coral bommies, preferring to graze on filamentous algae. The are found primarily in Japan and questionable Philippines, perhaps in the latter they occur further north out of the usual collection points. The species name oculus – latin for eye, probably came from the eye, or spectacle like markings that run horizontally down the fish’s lateral line. An unusual design that would make for a wonderful pet.
The ocular blenny is very rare with few specimens offered for sale each year, and mostly for the domestic Japanese market only. Someone needs to let the Japanese know that while interrupta angels and wrought iron butterflies are coolio, we’d like to see some other fish that swim the reefs of Japan. Surely the sea of Japan consists more than just nippon butterflies? And we know so! So add the ocular blenny to your growing list of lesser known japanese goodies and start let the pestering begin!