Robert Whitton is a renowned underwater videographer and naturalist, and is currently working in the ichthyological department of natural sciences as a research assosiate at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii. Robert runs a blog called Explorer’s Log where he documents and publishes interesting finds during his numerous biodiversity surveys. In his more recent blog post, Robert along with Randy Kosaki and Brian Hauk shared photos of the first ever living picture of the super rare Hawaiian Chromis struhsakeri.
Chromis struhsakeri is a real deep water legend from Hawaii that has eluded many, even experienced deepwater divers. Like Odanthias elizabethae, this fish is extremely seldom seen and only until now has it had its live photograph taken. As a rare fish geek, Chromis struhsakeri has always been one of the fishes on my list of things to see, and I have always secretly wished it appeared in Rufus Kimura’s deepwater Hawaiian catches. Alas, it has finally made its debut appearance on film thanks to Robert Whitton, Randy Kosaki and Brian Hauk.
The group of deepwater divers stumbled upon this rare find at 200 feet in Midway Atoll, and were the first to photograph this species alive. Chromis struhsakeri was seen again the following day at 280 feet. Midway Atoll is a well known rare fish mecca, and it is where Genicanthus personatus can be seen at a much shallower depth than it normally exists in mainland Hawaii. However even at Midway where deepwater fish exist at shallower depths, Chromis struhsakeri still prefers calling a hautingly deep 300 feet mesophotic reef its home. This would mean that in mainland Hawaii, the fish is found at far greater depths. For more pictures and information on Robert’s deepwater dive at Midway, including photos of Liopropoma aurora, Prognathodes ‘basabei’ and Odanthias fuscipinnis in the wild, do visit his blog here.
That is exactly what Richard Pyle commented with regards to this fish in the Bishop Museum blog post. He has seen this fish through an underwater submersible at 500 ft in mainland Hawaii, where it is common. Bone crushing soul sucking depths of 500 ft, is where this little Chromis frequents. Talk about deep. Richard has also seen this fish a day after Randy, Robert and Brian at Pearl and Hermes. Chromis struhsakeri may not seem like much, but what Richard Pyle mentioned in his blog post is a clear resonating sound for fish geeks everywhere. He says, ‘I suppose only a true fish nerd can appreciate how excited we are all about this encounter; but trust me, this is the stuff of high adventure for weirdos like us!’ We couldn’t agree more sir!
Another interesting species Richard encountered on his deep dive in Pearles and Hermes was Bodianus bathycarpos. B. bathycarpos is a member of the pigfish complex of Bodianus, which includes B. rubrisos and B. oxycephalus. However unlike the latter two, B. bathycarpos has never been photographed alive before and these are probably some of the first images available for the species. The females are white with a red equatorial belt cutting across the body from the eye to the caudaul peduncle, as well as addition dashes on the dorsal flank. Terminal males like the ones above and very much different. For more pictures and information on Richard’s deep dive at Pearl and Hermes, you may want to check out the Bishop Museum blog.
What a breath taking (literally) post from some of our favorite rare fish heroes, on never before seen fishes like Chromis struhsakeri and Bodianus bathycarpos. Do remember to check out their blogs linked above for more information and other pictures of their deepwater dives.