Besides having a knack for creative LFS names, the Japanese are also highly skilled in obtaining crazy fish, many of which are unlikely to register in the minds of the day to day hobbyist. Japanese fish store Remix has just obtained an incredible specimen of Plectranthias yamakawai, making this the first ever individual to be offered alive.
Like Liopropoma, the genus Plectranthias comprises of species that run the gamut of sizes from minuscule specimens measuring in at barely two inches, to gargantuan individuals sizing up to twenty centimeters. With many of the species being poorly known and studied, it is scientifically unclear if possible new subgenera could be erected to further classify these fish.
Japanese LFS Remix has just added a living specimen of Plectranthias yamakawai to their repertoire, making this the first ever individual to be photographed and documented alive in the market. Like many deepwater Japanese fish, P. yamakawai is not rare in the wild and is quite often caught for the food fish market on deep reels or trawler fishing. Together with P. japonicus, these two species make regular appearances in wet markets as fresh offerings from fishing boats. In the trade however, both are exceedingly rare and although P. japonicus has made its debut before in BlueHarbor, this is the first for P. yamakawai.
P. yamakawai is a deep water species at the end of the Plectranthias size spectrum. Growing to a maximum length of twenty centimeters, P. yamakawai is undoubtedly one of the largest members in its genus. The species is peachy orange with a constellation of black spots peppered haphazardly across the body. Obscure striations of gold interlace the spots, and a large red hinomaru is present on the flank. This hinomaru design is shared with two other species of Plectranthias, both of which are undescribed and can also be found in Japan.
This specimen at fifteen centimeters was caught at a bone crushing depth of 380m (1250ft), making this one of the deepest living species ever obtained anywhere for the trade. How it was caught or how it was even brought up alive is a mystery, and a miracle. As with many deepwater Japanese fish, this was probably obtained as a by catch from trawler or reel fishing. The fish is alive and doing well, with no apparent signs of DCS. Remix is keeping it at 17C (62F) and has reported that the fish is in excellent health and is feeding on shrimp.
As mentioned previously, this fish is not uncommonly seen in the food market, but seeing it alive and in good condition from 1250 ft is miraculous at best. No word yet on where this specimen is going to, or how much it is being sold for, but no prizes for guessing that it’ll probably not be cheap. Below is an image of a fully grown dead specimen caught on a commercial fishing boat for the food market.