Liopropoma dorsoluteum is a very rare species of basslet that had until now, never been photographed alive. The original type specimens of the ‘yellow back’ basslet were obtained from fish markets in Japan so it’s safe to say that since we have no documentation of this species in-situ, we can reasonably assume that Liopropoma dorsoluteum is a deepwater species.
There have been a steady trickle of reports of this fish being caught on hook and line in Japan, and also showing up in fish markets so this photo spread from Java Ornamental Fish is a rare opportunity to see the living appearance of this fish. As far as Liopropoma basslets go, the yellow back basslet doesn’t stray very from from the mold at all, with its nearly all red coloration and a touch of yellow on its back it might actually be the archetype for Liopropoma.
Java Ornamental Fish is based on the East end of Java in Banyuwangi and in all likelihood this fish was also caught on hook and line by regional fisherman, so it’s hard to know the depth from which it came but that nearly solid red coloration might be an adaptation to deep dark habitats. Wether it was collected by divers or caught with a pole these larger deepwater basslets are notoriously sensitive to being brought to the water surface so it’s a good sign that we don’t see any sign of bloating of floating in this individual.
Liopropoma dorsoluteum is one of the larger species in the genus with the type specimens ranging from six to eight inches long so the yellow back basslet must be quite a showy fish when it’s fully grown. The Banyuwangi region between Java and Bali is renowned for turning up some very unexpected fish in this short but deep channel between the Bali/Java Sea and the Indian Ocean and we look forward to seeing what will turn up next.