Festucalex rufus is a gorgeous and freaky little pipefish that was described several years ago from Papua New Guinea. More specifically, the tiny pink pipefish was discovered in the hot spot of biodiversity which is Milne Bay, home to many endemic species including Vanderloo’s angelfish.
What makes Festucalex rufus unique is that it is practically devoid of any pattern, opting to instead be a crimson red to deep salmon pink overall. This coloration is an adaptation to live on and around small tubular pink sponges with which it is almost perfectly camouflaged.
Under ambient light with red spectrum filtered out, the pipefish appears the same muted red as the sponge growth it inhabits. But when a dive light shines on this pipefish it glows with the most brilliant red color.
While it was discovered in Milne Bay, this red pipefish has been spotted in Bali to the west and Solomon Islands to the east. Its small size and brilliant color would make this pipefish a great candidate for a stunning species display, only under expert care of course. [Blenny Watcher, BHS]