The Diamond Tail Flasher wrasse, Paracheilinus attenuatus, is one of the most attractive yet lesser known species of wrasses from the Indian Ocean. We’ve given a lot of attention to Fairy Wrasses of the Cirrhilabrus genus this year, but we still have lots of love for the gorgeous flasher wrasses of the genus Paracheilinus.
There are approximately 17 species of flasher wrasse species, with species spread out from East Africa and the Red Sea, throughout all of the Indo-Pacific, and into the western Pacific Ocean. Of all the known species of Paracheilinus that are somewhat regularly available in the marine aquarium hobby, the diamond tail is probably one of our all time favorites, not the least of which because we’ve actually been able to see this fish in person.
Paracheilinus attenuatus is one of the most photogenic of the flasher wrasses, with male specimens beginning to display adult coloration at a relatively small size for the genus. Male diamond tail flasher wrasses are particularly desirable because they look great even without being in full nuptial coloration, making them particularly great aquarium inhabitants.
The reason that you don’t hear or see much about this particular flasher is that it comes from East Africa, usually around Kenya, and few specimens are collected every year, and distributed to a global market. Indeed, the Diamond Tail made its aquaristic debut in the aquarium trade just around 2009 and 2010, and while some specimens have been trickling into the trade, they have been few and far between.
Lucky for us, while visiting Quality Marine recently, on the same tour that revealed the lovely orange Lobactis disc coral, we spotted an exquisite example of the diamond tail flasher wrasse in fish holding. It had been a couple years since we saw a robustly healthy and colorful specimen of P. attenuatus, so it was great to see one again in real life, in the prime of health and ready to ship out to a lucky American fish store.