Tomiyamichthys emilyae is a new name for an old friend that we once saw a lot more of in the aquarium trade. It was almost exactly ten years ago that the ‘Magnificant Fan Shrimp’ goby was introduced to our early audience rare and exotic fish coverage here on Reef Builders.
At the time very few reef fish connoisseurs got their hands on this flamboyant little fish once believed to be a species of Flabelligobius, according to some underwater dive guides. The magnificent fan shrimp gobies are a popular photographic subjects of SCUBA divers in Cebu, Philippines because of their large and beautiful first dorsal fin, not to mention the colorful randall’s pistol shrimp that it is often associated with.
The type specimens for the description of Tomiyamichthys emilyae were collected from Lembeh Strait in Northern Sulawesi, Indonesia at a depth of between 55 and 75 feet (17 to 23m). Despite these macro photographs making them appear the size of ‘normal’ small fish, the magnificent fan shrimp goby grows to barely two inches long and likes to live among gradually sloping, sand/rubblebottom exposed to periodic strong currents.
One interesting note to takeaway from the official description of the magnificent fan shrimp goby is the discussion of the sexual differentiation between the males and females of Tomiyamichthys emilyae. While both sexes have the same sail-like first dorsal fin with leopard like spotting, only the male has the lighter, more colorful orange to light brown base color that makes the spots really stand out.
Despite being well known and thoroughly photographed for nearly 20 years, and very distinct from all other congeners of the Tomiyamichthys genus, it’s about time that the magnificent fan shrimp goby gets an official description. [JOSF]