Not to be confused with Pseudanthias, the genus Anthias was the original “anthias” to be erected by Linnaeus himself in the mid 1700s. The type species Anthias anthias is an Atlantic rarity that is very seldom seen in the trade. In fact, it has been a good number of years since we last saw A. anthias being offered anywhere, but mostly in the Japanese market. This end of the year marks a sudden re-emergence of this beautiful serranid, where numerous specimens are appearing in various japanese fish stores.
Also known as the swallowtail seaperch, these unusual basslets are usually offered from Mediterranean or East Atlantic shipments. Their preference for deepwater waters and their obscurity from the aquarium trade makes this species an elusive one to obtain. What’s immediately striking for this species are the extremely long ventral fins, which can reach the anal fin or even well past it. The ventrals are fleshy and very thick, and are often lobed at the tips.
The recent haul of Mediterranean shipments in Japan has once again unleashed a slew of Anthias anthias, appearing in numerous LFS such as Aquarise and Exoticafrica. Having the propensity to grow quite large, these deepwater fish prefer dimly lit set ups with cooler water and larger tanks. That being said, the cartoonish ventral fins and highly crescentic tail makes this species a beautiful one and worthy of any Atlantic deepwater biotope.