Today’s Awesome Fish Spotlight is a recap on a species that we’ve highlighted before, but aims to introduce new pictures of a brand new specimen that recently entered the market again. Cirrhilabrus brunneus is a rare species that is closely allied to the C. lunatus complex. We’ve been seeing many examples from this complex coming out of Philippines in the past month, such as C. lunatus, C. cf. lanceolatus and even a hybrid of the two. C. brunneus is another member of this group but differs so much that it deserves another post just to bring it to attention.
We previously mentioned Tony Vargas’ C. brunneus here, and aside from him, the only other person we know who had owned one reliably was Dr. Hiroyuki Tanaka. For more information on the species, a quick look at the previous article would shine some light. Like the pintails and lunatus wrasses that come out from the Philippines, this new specimen of C. brunneus came from RVS Fish World, a supplier with almost full exclusivity to this species. We recently managed to obtain one and are just beginning to fill the internet with brand new pictures of this highly elusive species.
Like, C. lunatus, C. brunneus also possess a crescent tail and is found in close association with the former, as well as the pintail fairy wrasse. They prefer rubble slopes and are found at moderate depths of 40-50m. Unlike the other two however, C. brunneus appears to be rarer and are collected only in extremely few pieces. The coloration is also way too unique and it is unlike any other fairy wrasse we know. In it’s normal unexcited state, C. brunneus is a dusky greyish-black with varying degrees of yellow displayed on its underside and along its pectoral fin base. It has a red eye, which when coupled with the black body gives a rather ominous and malevolent look that is totally ironic for a fairy wrasse.
Wild photographs are exceedingly rare and hard to find, but the two pictures above of C. brunneus in its natural habitat shows a perfect example of the varying intensity of black that the fish can display depending on its mood. Like C. lunatus, it has a relatively high profiled dorsal and anal fin, which when fanned out for displaying, gives the fish a very rounded almost saucer shaped appearance. In display the fish turns jet black with iridescent highlights of aquamarine blue which outlines the tail and unpaired fins.
A big thanks to RVS Fish World and Iwarna Aquafarm of Singapore for the fish, and enjoy the mini gallery above of this spectacular species.