Peppermints aren’t the only candy colored fish residing at BlueHarbor currently. In a brand new but smaller scale Southern Pacific shipment, Koji teases with another super rare and beautiful fish dressed in a similar striped garb. Liopropoma tonstrinum is one of the rarest of the small Liopropoma series, and is practically confined to the Japanese market despite being collected oceans away.
The genus Liopropoma is one of our favorites here at ReefBuilders, and we’ve covered many species in the past. Generally there are two groups of Liopropoma. The bigger species consisting of members like L. aurora, L. randalli, L. japonicum, L. aragai etc, and the smaller more tank friendly species like L. rubre, L. africanum, L. colletei, L. multilineatum etc. Of the smaller Liopropomas, L. africanum and L. tonstrinum are the rarest, with the latter being collected most infrequently.
Japan has been on the receiving end of the bulk of L. tonstrinum shipments in the past, and get them at least once every year or so from Palau. It is still rare in Japan and is never collected in large numbers. It’s been awhile since we last saw a tonstrinum basslet for sale, and this marks the first one the be collected from the South Pacific together with Peppermint Angels. In the box above, L. tonstrinum is seen together with various Bodianus, Chromis sp as well as a new Cirrhilabrus claire.
If you intend on purchasing this gorgeous little reef basslet, forget it. It has already been sold almost instantly with a very reasonable price tag of a little above USD $2,000. A L. tonstrinum can be seen in its natural habitat here in a Moorea deep dive video, and we hope more of such specimens appear in future. As cool as peppermints are, there are a ton of fish that live down in those depths that deserve the same amount of hype and spotlight that those angels are receiving. We await high definition videos of Koji’s new Liopropoma in the days to come.