Grammatonotus xanthostigma is a new species of deepwater basslet that was recently described in 2017 after their discovery by technical divers Drs. Brian Greene and Rich Pyle in 2015. Despite its objective beauty both in shape, pattern and color, the ‘yellow spot Groppo’ live so deep that only a handful of trained deepwater divers have ever seen it alive.
Thankfully, these highly trained deepwater divers often bring some of the best photo and video capturing equipment also known as cameras, and pictures of these obscure species really help bring these fish to life. These first live photographs of G. xanthostigma provided by Dr. Rocha were made at 500 feet deep, and show a familiar color and pattern for deepwater fish of purple fronted yellow bodies, also seen in the royal gramma, Lipogramma klayi and several others.
However tantalizing these fish may seem, their delicate nature and preference for profoundly deep water all but precludes them for appreciation in an aquarium environment. At 500 feet deep the water is less than 60ºF, so really cold by hobbyist aquarium standards, and some of the first type specimens didn’t even survive the ascent to 200 feet where decompression procedures usually begin. Although these fish are destined to remain in unobtainium territory as far as aquarium fish go, we are fortunate to have fish enthusiasts documenting the world of mesophotic reef fish when they can.