A Chaetodon burgessi/tinkeri hybrid butterflyfish has been imported into the UK. It’s been ten whole years since we started to see these pop up in the trade but in that time very few if any have made it to England. The fish is being offered by Burscough Aquatics who acquired it from the Manchester branch of Tropical Marine Centre.
The fish house manager said it was the first time a burgess/tinker cross had ever been seen in Manchester in its twenty-year history. Both parent butterflyfish species belong to a subgenus of Chaetodon which includes four others – C.declivis, guyotensis, flavocoronatus and mitratus, with Chaetodon burgessi being the type species. All are Indo-pacific species being found mostly in pairs around drop-offs at depths of 50m. The exception is C.guyotensis, found right down at 300m depths. The five available species are all sought-after butterflyfish with yellow, black, or white diagonal markings and some spotting on the flanks, depending on the species.
When compared to both Chaetodon tinkeri and burgessi the featured specimen shares yellow snout, eye, and dorsal markings with C.tinkeri but the extra dark diagonal band and more subtle spotting of C.burgessi. Although some hybrids are known to vary even from flank to flank, this one at least appears to be identical on both sides.
Chaetodon tinkeri comes from the Central Pacific and is best known from deep reefs in the Hawaiian Islands. Chaetodon Burgessi hales from the West Pacific, Bali, Flores, Micronesia and New Guinea.
The pictured specimen is 2.5-3” in length and in the crazy days of rare marine fish pricing, this one-off butterflyfish seems much more conservative, priced at £439/$538.