A nice large male solid red flame angelfish with flowing blue-edged fins is quite a sight to behold, we’d say it’s possibly one of the most beautiful reef fish, or at least pygmy angelfish. For some of you nothing will ever top a perfect normal flame angelfish and we can already hear you decrying that this unusual specimen is foul and evil.
But for those of us who appeal to the rare, funky, and unusual, this bicolor flame angelfish recently unveiled from Vanuatu is quite an interesting fish indeed. The general appearance of flame angelfish is fairly conservative with only some minor regional variations within Centropyge loricula so it’s really exciting to see such a dramatically different flame angelfish.
Sure we occasionally see hypomelanistic “solar flare” flame angelfish, and there’s even the incrementally noteworthy silver bullet flame angelfish (see below) with silver dorsal and anal fin margins but today’s bicolor flame is truly post-worthy. We are utterly not surprised to see this unusual bicolor flame angelfish coming out of Vanuatu by way of Sustainable Reef Suppliers as their facebook page is a veritable wellspring of oddly colored Centropyge of all species.
It’s hard to explain what is going on in this particular specimen of flame angelfish with its excess of black pigment in some places, and absence of red color across the face and dorsal fin. The shape of the white across this fish’s body follows the general pattern of the various flameback angelfish species, so perhaps this white-topped C. loricula could be called a “snowback”?
Whatever the case, the odd distribution of pigmentation in this flame angelfish has all the hallmarks of vitiligo and it could progress and change the color of this specimen over time. Either way, we love how the red coloration is retained in the eyes of this flame angelfish giving it a sort of bloodthirsty look that we don’t expect to see in another flame angelfish anytime soon. [SRS Vanuatu]