Liopropoma olneyi is a “new” species of the popular deepwater basslets which has actually been making it into the aquarium trade for some time now. If you recall the exciting deepwater collections being undertaken in the manned submersible in Curacao and all of the reef rarities it has been bringing to the light of day, it turns out that there were two species of Liopropoma hiding among the L. aberrans that were documented.
Some of the eagle eyed rare fish aficionados had noticed that there seemed to be two different kinds of Liopropoma aberrans collected in the depths of Curacao and now thanks to a the collection of an exotic looking larvae, scientists were able to come to the same conclusion. Both the real Liopropoma aberrans and L. olneyi share the same profile and a pink and yellow motif nbut the two species are easy to differentiate based on color pattern.
Liopropoma aberrans which was described more than a century ago has a more bicolored appearance with a yellow dorsal surface and semi-solid orange pink lower half. Meanwhile the newly discovered Liopropoma olneyi has a lighter salmon-pink lower half punctuated by yellow spots across its entire length.
This is a big day for fans of the deepwater Liopropoma genus, ourselves included, since we have yet another new species of this illustrious fish group to appreciate. The description of Liopropoma olneyi brings the total number of known Liopropoma species in the Caribbean to six including the wrasse bass, swissguard, candy, cave, golden and now Olney’s deepwater basslet. The genus Liopropoma has been bred in captivity but it will be a while still until the process is scaled to raise more than a few individuals at a time.
The new species Liopropoma olneyi is described by Carole Baldwin and David Johnson in the latest issue of PLoS ONE.