Once rarely displayed in public aquariums, the McCullochi clownfish has recently become available to aquarium hobbyists around the world. Like other species of clownfish, the McCullochi clownfish lays a patch of bright orange eggs at regular intervals, usually in close proximity to its host anemone. Both parents care for the developing embryos and can be seen carefully tending the eggs and fiercely protecting them from potential predators.
Comb wrasses are named for the comb-like markings on their side. These fish are rarely displayed in public aquariums. The DWA has displayed this species since 1994. This sub tropical fish can be found in coastal waters of Southeastern Australia, Lord Howe Island, and New South Wales. It feeds on small crabs and shrimp and the juveniles may clean other fishes.
The Painted goldie anthias, also known as the Pictilis anthias, like other members of the sea bass family, are hermaphrodites. The brightly colored males can be seen battling for their harem of less colorful females. In the absence of a male, the most dominant female can become a male. Painted goldies feed on zooplankton and floating algae and often hide in crevices or caves in the reef.
The DWA’s collection of coral reef fishes is internationally recognized for rarely-exhibited species. Marine angelfish (not to be confused with freshwater angelfish, which are cichlids) are a specialty and the Spectacled angelfish, also known as the Conspiculatus angelfish because of the “spectacle-like” rings around its eyes, is one of the most admired. This fish is found in the subtropical waters of Lord Howe Island and is considered rare in the aquarium industry. In 1994, the DWA was the first aquarium in the world to feature a Lord Howe Island exhibit.
Although a vast number of saltwater fishes flourish in Asian waters, relatively few are restricted to them, otherwise being found also in Australia, East Africa, Hawaii, and other parts of the Pacific and Indian Oceans. Found only from the island of Sulawesi and the Philippines, north to Okinawa and Southern Japan, the Powder-brown or White-faced tang is truly an Asian fish. It can be mistaken for the more widespread, but harder to keep, Gold-rimmed tang A. nigricans, which has less white on its face.
This fairy basslet is very rare in American aquariums, because it is normally found at depths of 600 to 900 feet, so is difficult and dangerous to collect. It has a wide range, from South Africa (where it lives with Coelacanths!) to Japan and the Palau Islands. It commonly swims upside down, beneath rock formations.
The males and females of all swallowtail angels differ in color, but in this case, the difference is so extreme that the male was given the species’ scientific name in 1934, while the female was described as “Holacanthus fuscosus” in 1970. Only aquarium observations confirmed they were the same species. In Japan, this species is found only in Okinawa and “The Seven Islands of Izu” (of which there are actually around a dozen). It is also found off Taiwan and the Philippines.
Very few of these unique butterflyfish have ever been kept in North America. While many of their relatives are found across vast areas of the Pacific, this dramatically colored species is found only in the Izu and Ogasawara islands of southern Japan, where it can be very common. Because this is a plankton-eating butterflyfish, rather than a polyp-eater, it is one of the easier members of its family to maintain in aquariums.
In most of the swallowtail angelfish species, the male has a more complicated pattern than the female. This species, found from the Philippines to remote islands of the South Pacific, is an exception. The male has a pattern of gold strips bordering a broad pinkish band. The female has a striking pattern of black, white, and purplish-blue. The Latin word “bellus” means “beautiful”. The Greek word “genicanthus” means “cheek spine”.
The Chocolate surgeonfish is also known as the Mimic tang because as a juvenile it is yellow or cream colored and is thought to mimic several species of pygmy angelfish. As it matures, the yellow coloration changes to become more chocolate brown. The mimicry is thought to be a protective strategy that allows the tang to feed without being attacked by damselfish competing for the same food sources. Like other species of surgeonfish, the Chocolate surgeonfish bears a sharp spine on either side of the base of its tail.