The new species of Plectranthias that was recently collected from Curacao is probably the first of its kind to make it into a home aquarium. We first featured this fish with a post from Joe Oliver at the source, and now we’ve got an update on this stupendous specimen in Blue Harbor Japan, where the fish has ended up.
If we had to name one group of reef fish that truly make us swoon, the Plectranthias would be at the top of that shortlist. New species of Plectranthias are discovered pretty often, and just a few weeks ago we were treated to the official description of Plectranthias bennetti from the Coral Sea. Interestingly, the first specimen of that new species also went to Blue Harbor.
The new Plectranthias sp. “Curacao” was collected at the soul-crushing depth of 650 feet by the prolific fish-discovering Curasub. This small basslet was collected at Klein Curacao, a small island about 10 miles away from the main island of Curacao, but the species was first spotted in another submarine in the South of Florida many years ago.
What makes this new basslet particularly exciting is that there are over 50 species of Plectranthias known from throughout the broad Indian and Pacific Ocean, but there is currently only one described species from the Atlantic & Caribbean, the apricot basslet, Plectranthias garrupellus. Aside from the standard issue orange, red and white color motifs of the genus, the new Curacao Plectranthias looks very distinct from the slightly more familiar Apricot Basslet.
In these fabulous first clear photos from Blue Harbor staffer Kengo Zeze we can see the color and pattern of this new Plectranthias in vivid detail. The Plectranthias has on averall orange body coloration with a pronounced near-continuous white dorsal stripe extending from the snout, through the eye, and reaching the base of the tail.
The pectoral, anal, caudal and soft dorsal fin are mostly colorless and clear, while the pelvic fins are white, and the spiny part of the dorsal fin is a deep crimson red that continues in the topside of the body and head. This looker of a reef fish is an exciting find for fans of rare and exotic reef fish. Hopefully the Curasub will collect more of this new Plectranthias for the aquarium hobby, and also for some lucky ichthyologist to formally describe this new species for the rest of the world.