Prognathodes guyotensis, the uber rare Guyote Butterflyfish is the pinnacle of a whole suite of awesome deepwater animals that have been documented over the last week. The Okeanos Explorer is an ROV expedition by NOAA that has been live-streaming its video feed on YouTube for years but for 2016, fish nerds and scientists alike gathered for a front row seat to what the ROV might discover.
The ROV is currently on a mission to explore in and around the Marianas Trench, one of the deepest places in the world, and the wealth of exotic deep sea creatures that have been observed is nothing short of breathtaking. Never before seen fish, corals and invertebrates were broadcast to the world in real time so that many of us got to see these incredible animals at the same time as the researchers.
A huge wealth of exciting deep sea fish include rare Plectranthias, Odontanthias, butterflyfish, and some unknown basslets and corals were filmed in exquisite detail for us all to be amazed by. The Anthias, Plectranthias, and deepwater Azoox corals are all amazing and post-worthy in their own right, but the Prognathodes guyotensis almost eclipses these other finds in our view.
The Guyote Butterflyfish, originally described as Chaetodon guyotensis, is one of the rarest, least known, and deepest living species of butterflyfish that we know of. This unusual fish shares many characteristics with both the Prognathodes and Roaps butterflyfish, so picturing this fish as a really deep-living Tinkeri butterflyfish wouldn’t be too far off.
What makes these sightings so exciting, besides being broadcast live to fish geeks all over the world, is that the lighting and video quality is so good, that beautiful screen captures like these are possible. These fish are usually only known as dead specimens, trawled up and tattered from the depths with the quality of their body, color and pattern leaving much to be desired.
But seeing exquisite animals like the Guyote butterflyfish, Prognathodes guyotensis, in its natural habitat, with glowing live colors is truly a sight to behold. Again, we could write an entire post on virtually every animal sighted by the Okeanos Explorer expedition, the Guyote Butterflyfish really takes the cake for us, but check out the gallery below for an overview of the crazy critters that are turning up.
You too can join in on the live feed from the Okeanos on the bottom of the ocean as the ROV will be partaking on multiple deep sea missions from now until July 10th. Surely the Guyote Butterflyfish is not the last animal that we’ll be sharing with you from this mission, and we can’t wait to see what else the Okeanos will turn up.