Dottybacks are some of the most beloved tropical marine fish for the small to the large saltwater and reef aquariums and today we learned about one more species that we had never heard of before. Pectinochromis lubbocki is one of those small cryptic species of dottybacks that are rarely seen because they are either very shy, highly reclusive, or both but thanks to a flawless photograph shared by Andrey Ryanski we have our first good look at this interesting nano fish.
Pectinochromis lubbocki is only known from the Red Sea and the attached Gulf of Aqaba and since it’s a deeper living fish found at depths ranging from 52-70 m, 170 to 230 feet, it’s not surprising that Andrey’s picture might be the first photo of a living specimen anywhere, the species isn’t even mentioned in any of our Red Sea fish books. It can sometimes be hard to tell apart some of the different and lesser known genera and species of dottybacks, especially when they don’t have much in terms of color or pattern.
But one distinguishing feature of Pectinochromis lubbocki is that it has a dorsal fin that starts very far forward on the dorsal part of the body which is clearly visible in this in-situ image taken in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. But Pectinochromis lubbocki has a lot more going for it with a series of small blue edged black spots in the dorsal fin and a striking purple and yellow eye and a pair of metallic white pelvic fins which we imagine would be quite an eye catcher if this species was ever collected alive for an aquarium.
If you want to take a tour of some other very attractive and equally small lesser known dottybacks take a gander at Lubbockichthys multisquamatus, Pseudochromis tapeinosoma, or Pseudoplesiops collare.