Cirrhilabrus claire is one of our all time favorite species of fairy wrasses and lucky for us, it seems like this year might be be a fruitful one for this incredible and exciting fish from the South Pacific. Two years ago, Claire’s fairy wrasse made its aquaristic debut with specimens collected in deep waters of Tahiti by Rufus Kimura alongside equally illustrious narcosis angelfish.
On a subsequent trip more specimens were harvested and in November of last year, our special visit to Blue Harbor in Japan brought us the first up close and personal, intimate look at the amazing Cirrhilabrus claire. Then yesterday, we got wind that some Claire’s fairy wrasse had been collected in the Cook Islands and these fish showed exceptional coloration that is significantly different from the purple and green ones from Tahiti.
There’s a lot more aquarium collecting activity in the Cook Islands than Tahiti so we were given hope that more Cirrhilabrus claire could be made available in the future. Wouldn’t you know it, hours after yesterday’s earth-shattering rare fish news we received confirmation that U.S. aquarium livestock wholesaler Quality Marine had just received a trio of Calire’s fairy wrasse of their own, and they were in the process of experiencing their first American style photo shoot.
The trio of Cirrhilabrus claire that arrived at Quality Marine was hand collected by Chip Boyle himself, the man after whom Paracentropyge boylei is named. One thing that is great about the Claire’s fairy wrasses that we are seeing is that they are all slightly larger, on the subadult side and we can clearly see the difference between the male and female specimens. While male at Quality Marine isn’t quite as colorful as the Japanese specimens we featured yesterday, it does have the beginnings of the fiery red and yellow coloration in the dorsal fin which makes the Cook Islands Claire’s fairy wrasse distinct from their Tahitian brethren.
Seeing as the supply for the mind-blowing Claire’s Fairy wrasse is extremely limited, you can be certain that the cost of this illustrious fish will place it firmly in the rare fish collector territory and we believe that the three Claire’s are being offered up as a trio. A huge thanks to Quality Marine for taking the time to produce these fantastic images of their Cirrhilabrus claire from the Cook Islands and we hope this is the beginning of at least a small trickle of this Holy Grail fairy wrasse into the aquarium hobby.