Another surgeonfish has been collected in the wild with the strange piebald coloration that seems to be pretty common in wild surgeonfish and now we’re really getting anxious to know what this condition is, or what causes it. The genus Ctenochaetus is not nearly as susceptible to the aberrant skin condition that is relatively common in Zebrasoma, but this cute little two-spot bristletooth tang has it pretty good, or pretty bad depending on how you look at it.
A recent paper revealed the presence of certain types of skin cancers in wild fish and Cairns Marine has also documented the reversal of this phenomenon in a large captive Ctenochaetus. Meanwhile, certain surgeonfish in the Steinhart Aquarium’s large Philippine coral reef display seem to develop this condition after coming in perfectly normal, so we’ve still got a lot of sleuthing to do before we get to the bottom of what’s going on.
Captured earlier this year by RVS Fishworld in the Philippines, this particular Ctenochaetus binotatus is exhibiting the unknown skin color anomaly all over its body. At present this adolescent fish doesn’t show very strong contrast between its normally and aberrant coloration but it sure does create a nice contrast to that beautiful blue eye we love about this species.