Some aberrant saltwater fish can be a bit dirty looking, while others like this recently caught Piebald specimen can be instant show stoppers. It was caught in the Indian Ocean off Sumatra at a depth of 14 feet, where it was shoaling with other much plainer examples of its own kind.
The pictures and video were supplied by Gunawan from Facebook page Cemong Sumatera, who although couldn’t give us a scientific name, told us the local fishermen call it benama botana cemong.”It is a herbivore and lives at a depth of 4-15 m on the ocean floor. A breed of this type of fish has many habitats and purposes yet are rarely found like this at a high price because of its unique and rare coloring properties. They swim in colonies and the normal fish is ash brown”
It is without question an Acanthurus, and the best looking from several photos supplied to us by Gunawan of aberrant surgeonfish. Those with the least aberrations have a distinct black line behind the eye, a white band on the caudal peduncle, mustard yellow dorsal fin, and the ash brown color he mentioned to us, so we’re thinking its an Eye-line Surgeon, Acanthurus nigricauda, which fits the description, depth, and locality.
They can reach 18? in length and become more territorial as they mature but it would be worth it to see this particular specimen gracing a huge reef display. Due to the number of aberrant specimens we’ve seen from this supplier, if it is Acanthurus nigricauda, it seems as prone to polymorphism as Zebrasoma scopas, and with patterns like that, it’s just changed a species with low ornamental value to being one which is well worth targeting for the aquarium market.
Oh, and the price for those who are rich enough to enquire – a cool $30,000…