Cirrhilabrus briangreenei is a long overdue description for a fish that has been known in the marine aquarium hobby as the black spot pyle wrasse since at least 2008, see video below. The official description proposes the name Latigo fairy wrasse for Cirrhilabrus briangreenei which shares a lot in common with Pyle’s fairy wrasse which was described way back in 1996.
The similarly shaped body and unmistakeable long pelvic fins of Cirrhilabrus briangreenei have caused aquarists to believe that these Philippine specimens were just a variant of Cirrhilabrus pylei. However the bold black spot in the center of the dorsal fin and sark edged tail, plus some other color differences are more than enough to separate the two.
A classic Cirrhilabrus pylei above, and the newly christened Cirrhilabrus briangreenei below.
Although Cirrhilabrus briangreenei is sporadically available in the aquarium hobby and therefore must be found at depths accessible to collectors, the first professionally documented encounters with the Latigo Fairy wrasse were between 82 and 110 meters (around 270 to 360 feet). Even if immature specimens of the two long pelvic-finned fairy wrasse could look similar, they have very different distributions with C. pylei being known from the South Pacific, most commonly from Vanuatu while C. briangreenei being so far known only from the Philippines.
The very fun video below shows the collection of the type specimens of the Latigo Fairy wrasse by Brian Greene himself at the Verder Island Passage, Philippines. Cirrhilabrus briangreenei is described by Tea YiKai, Richard Pyle, & Luiz Rocha.
Published today in the scientific journal ??????. ???????????? ???????????? Tea, Pyle & Rocha 2020, a new species of wrasse from the deep reefs of the Philippines. I feel honored to call these scientists (fish nerds) my friends…Paper here: https://www.copeiajournal.org/copeia-bjbj/jxci-19-297ck671440lq?fbclid=IwAR2fy2zo3nEb8d_rcI7KTRjcCC9peNd8Gs5u2HuQ3x0K2OUKN-TOs8IK9Mc
Posted by Brian D. Greene on Monday, February 24, 2020