The Ballina Angelfish is a swimming oxymoron – it is one of the best-known yet rarely-seen rare species of angelfish yet sightings of this species are very rare. The reason for this rarity is that it is only known to occur at safe SCUBA depths at Ball’s Pyramid, an island far from Lord Howe Island, itself an island far from Australia.
Despite the extreme remoteness of its habitat, a handful of intrepid divers make the treck to Ball’s Pyramid and occasionally, one of them might snap a photograph of Chaetodontoplus ballinae, the Ballina Angelfish. The creator of this image is experienced underwater photographer Mark Strickland of BlueWater Photo who managed to capture this stunning ballina angelfish in profile despite using a wide-angle lens at the time.
As recently as October last year we were treated to the first good video of the Ballina Angelfish along with the co-awesome halfbanded angelfish, Genicanthus semicinctus. We can only hope that the interval between ballina angelfish sightings continues to shorten as we can never get enough of this holy grail level species of angelfish. [Mark Strickland]