Genicanthus takeuchii is an angelfish so rare that it practically unknown in the aquarium hobby so it doesn’t even show up in lists of holy grail saltwater fish. Despite being one of the largest species of swallowtail angelfish and being only known from a very small region in the northwest Pacific Ocean, we have to vicariously enjoy the Takeuchi angelfish only through the rare underwater dive photos but these sometimes reveal more than we expected.
While sightings of this species by SCUBA divers are pretty rare, the few in-situ images we have often reveal hybrids of G. takeuchii with a more common species, the true Japanese Swallowtail Angelfish G. semifasciatus. We’ve actually shared the few hybrid Takeuchi angelfish sightings that we’ve come across over the last decade but a new observation photographed earlier this month is a new twist on this particular interspecies cross.
We’ve discussed the concept of reciprocal hybrids at length before, specifically regarding the cultured crocea x squamosa clam hybrids and the super exciting wild blueface angelfish hybrids that are rare than hen’s teeth and we believe a similar phenomenon is at play with his Takeuchi hybrid. Without a better look at the details of this specimen or better yet an analysis of its genetics we won’t hazard a guess at the pedigree of this fish but it’s very interesting to see nonetheless.
We would be very fortunate if Takeuchi angelfish were ever collected alive for the aquarium hobby we would hope they would be earmarked for captive breeding but they would probably need to be kept on the cold side. In their natural habitat the Takeuchi angelfish lives in deepwater that is mostly on the cold side of 19C or 66F so these wouldn’t be a drop in to existing aquarium, but we can only keep our fingers crossed that one day these glorious swallowtail angelfish would experience the same aquaculture treatment as we’ve seen with conspicuous and masked angelfish. [Regulus]