Heteroconger guttatus is a new species of garden eel just described from the Bird’s Head Peninsula region of West Papua. There are 35 species of garden eels belonging to two different genera, Heteroconger and Gorgasia with most occurring in the Indo-Pacific Oceans.
Garden eels are woefully underrepresented in the hobbyist aquarium community but they can make a very captivating display sometimes seen in public aquariums. We’ve seen some small groupings in full reef tanks from our friends over at Amazing Aquariums & Reefs and Greenwich Aquaria but it’s definitely best to set them up with their own, dedicated display, deep sand and all.
Two similar species of garden eels, Heteroconger fugax with lighter spots on the left, H. taylori with larger, darker spots on the right.
Interestingly the new Heteroconger guttatus was recognized on surveys of the area way back in 2006 but it took 13 years for type specimens to be collected in order to perform the original description. As the ‘guttatus’ name implies, H. guttatus is recognizable by a pattern of closely spaced fine spots which can be light orangish brown or a light shade of black, fitting neatly between two other species in superficial appearance, H. fugax and H. taylori. [JOSF]