A very rare hybrid of the spotfin and four-eye butterflyfish was recently collected by Dynasty Marine in South Florida. The hybrid specimen shows an appearance with a near 50/50 split in the features of its parent, resulting in a ghostly looking butterflyfish.
Hybrid butterflyfish are a rare accidental occurrence that we often get to report on in Indo-Pacific species, but rarely for Atlantic butterflyfish. There are much fewer species of butterflyfish in the Atlantic, so the potential for genetic mixing is already pretty low.
We’ve covered a rare cross between the banks and french butterflyfish of the Prognathodes genus once before, but the new foureye-spotfin is the first time we’ve seen a hybrid of Chaetodon from the Caribbean.
As with all hybrids, and particularly butterflyfish, it will be exciting to see how this specimen changes color over time. At just two inches long, the hybrid butterflyfish still shows plenty of its juvenile appearance but the adult color and pattern should be very interesting to see when it is all grown up.