Aberrant fish show up occasionally from time to time and it’s always a game of roulette as to what form they will take. Pseudochromis are not exclusively spared from such afflictions, although it’s not everyday we come across a unique individual with an off-coloured scheme. Not too long ago we reported on a fully yellow xanthic individual of the diadema complex, which was stunning in its own right.
Perhaps the most problematic issue when examining aberrant or abnormally coloured fish is getting the identification down to species level. Often the aberration is so severe that the entire coloration is distorted beyond recognition making identification impossible, especially if the fish lacks any charismatic morphological features. The dottyback above with the “leucoxanthic – white/yellow” pattern is one such example,
At first look we thought this might be an abnormal Pseudochromis fuscus, and a quick consult with dottyback authority Dr. Anthony Gill yielded the same consensus. He suggested that Pseudochromis tonozukai may also be a potential candidate. However without physical examination or at least a fin clip, any answer is more or less guess work. A new undescribed species is unlikely, although not impossible.
What we do know is that this fish came from Indonesia along with the likes of Genicanthus caudovittatus, the presence of the latter indicating that the fish was collected from the Javan or Sumatran region where both Pacific and Indian ocean species mingle. A big thanks to Ihsan Aditya for the photos and information, and we look forward to more development on this unusual Pseudochromid.