Somewhere along the primeval soup of genetic crossing and embryonic development, a magnificent fire fish decided to break free from the metaphorical cloning factory and decided to be different. The concept of massed produced factory clones is not limited only to cheap plastic toys. In the fish world, this cookie cutter vision is seen in many fish species, but none quite as blatantly obvious as Nemateleotris magnifica; the magnificent fire fish.
Every year thousands and thousands of magnificent fire fish are collected for the trade, and each one looking like a carbon copy of the other. While hybrids do occur where N. magnifica and N. decora are sympatric, they are extremely rare and poorly documented. Every once in awhile, and by that we mean only one time, we chance upon an absolute freak, desperately trying to break out of this uncompromising mould.
In 2011, we chanced upon a truly magnificent magnificent fire fish, with the most bizarre pink-spotted aberration. Like a teletubby, that individual had a square patch of iridescent retina burning pink scales, superimposed on a magenta matte patch. Yet in all the years of reefing, we’ve only seen one real aberrant fire fish, and maybe we’re just not looking hard enough, but surely something else like this has to exist under our radar right?
Well it has been four years since, and another aberrant fire fish has surfaced. This one however, is not nearly as magnificent as it’s name suggests. This particular individual woke up one day and decided she didn’t want to be a princess. No. She wanted to be every parent’s worse nightmare. The broody emo teenage girl with tattoo sleeves and a liking for slipknot.
This almost magnificent fire fish is unusual in lacking much of the red pigment, but instead it’s replaced with an inky smokey grey and black. Apart from that, the front half remains pretty much the same. Despite the rather somber and depressing image of an otherwise vibrant (too vibrant even) species, we absolutely love it. We love it because this fella decided to throw all caution to the wind and say you know what? Enough with the stereotype. I don’t want to put on that ugly dress aunt Hilda bought for Christmas, and I sure as hell ain’t gonna put on any make up.
In the words of Lady Gaga, this fire fish was born this way. Or rather, she was born this grey. But really, who’s judging. Shine on you dark horse, and maybe some day another repressed fire fish would break out of its shell. This individual came from RVS fish world.