If you think the Golden Hawkfish (Cirrhitichthys aureus) from the Pacific is rare; you should reconsider after hearing about its close cousin from the Indian Ocean, the Bleeker’s Hawkfish (C. bleekeri). At first glance, some may say they are the same species. But if you look closely, even an amateur aquarist should be able to tell the difference between the two.
It’s easily noticeable that the Golden Hawkfish has a more yellowish coloration and lacks the spots on the tail; while the latter is more dusky orange. According to fishbase, C. bleekeri can attain aMaximum size of 8.2 cm, which puts the adults at a slightly smaller size than the Golden hawkfish.
Bleeker’s Hawkfish is one world’s lesser known hawkfishes. There is very few information available on the species. We do know about their distribution, which ranges in the Eastern Indian Ocean region such as Sri Lanka and India but we’re still unsure about the size of the existing population.
The species may not be rare in the wild, but because imports from India are rarely available to the aquarist, there are less chances to see them in the trade. C. bleekeri may not be readily available, but its nice to know that a sister species of C. aureus exists in another ocean.