Lagoon is a well known LFS in Japan that occasionally snares up pretty amazing rare fish. While checking their website out recently, we stumbled upon this image in their rare fish hall of fame archives. While this specimen is not new, its appearance at Lagoon is definitely worth a shout out. We’ve never known or heard of this species entering the trade before, and to escape our watchful eyes of the rare fish realm is something of a marvel.
Pseudojuloides sp. 4 is an undescribed member of the pencil wrasse in the “elongatus complex”. It closely resembles P. elongatus, for which it is erroneously labelled online. The former from Eastern Australia and New Zealands. Unlike other members of the genus, this species is more often found swimming in algae reefs with sparse kelp growth in temperate waters. A japanese endemic, this fish is subtropical and almost never enters the trade.
An alarming trait of the males is its crazy, and we mean CRAY CRAY coloration. No other wrasse in the genus sports a color combo much like this. The bright yellow belly with numerous blue and black spots coupled with the squiggly pink head is something out of a children’s colouring book. Despite being well documented with numerous pictures and videos online, this fish remains undescribed and new to science.
As with all other members in this genus, the females are less brightly coloured. A uniform pinkish orange compared to the retina burning males. Females swim in lose aggregations, usually with a nearby male. What’s surprising is the lack of specimens entering the japanese trade. Found in Japan at 15m, there are more specimens of Cirrhilabrus lanceolatus than there are of this pencil wrasse. Perhaps the location at which it is found is not suitable for collection. The piece in Lagoon’s hall of fame remains the only one that we know of. Perhaps there are more that are secretly lurking around.
Enjoy this video of this species swimming in the wild.