Quality Marine Receives Rare Species from the Cook Islands

May 16, 2019

Press release: Quality Marine

Quality Marine has imported some exciting and important species of marine fish from its longtime partner in the Cook Islands. Our Cook Island partners supply Quality Marine with an extensive list of rare and beautiful species, and are a model for their commitment to sustainable collection.

Of particular interest was the importation of a Peppermint Angelfish (Paracentropyge boylei), an extremely rare, beautiful deep-water angel. This scarlet red and white angel is found in the deep waters of the South Pacific. The P. boylei is one of the hobby’s rarest fish and has been collected very infrequently. In the wild, the Peppermint Angel is found on ledges, in caves and around rubble areas of steep reefs down to about 120 meters deep. The P.boylei should be housed in a dimly lit, large aquarium with plenty of ledges and cave-like structures that mimic its natural habitat. Paracentropyge species are known to be finicky eaters, so the Peppermint Angel should be fed a varied diet of small thawed marine-based meaty foods and live sponges. Over time the species can be acclimated to higher light conditions.

The female Pitcairn Angel (Genicanthus spinus) is exceedingly rare, and is certainly one of the only, and possibly the first-ever, in trade. These inhabit the coral reefs from the Cook Islands to Pitcairn Islands at depths of 30 to at least 60 meters. The females are uniformly a silver-gray color, while the males have evenly spaced black bars on the upper half of their body with yellow stripes within the dorsal and anal fins. These have yet to make their way into the aquarium trade in the USA.

The Tinker Butterfly (Chaetodon tinkeri) is typically collected around the Hawaiian Islands and occasionally in the Marshall Islands; to our knowledge this is the first example of Cook Islands-collected C. tinkeri in North America. In the wild C. tinkeri are commonly found singly or in pairs around steep slopes in depths from 27 to 180 meters. The Tinker Butterfly’s golden mask is their most notable trait, and many researchers believe that the black marking by their caudal tail is actually a “false eye” to trick predators.

The juvenile Hogfish (Bodianus busellatus), another rarity, is new not only to captive aquatics but to science as well, and was only recently classified as a new species (2006 Gomon). They can be seen scooting around reefs of the Central Pacific; Marshall Islands, Marquesas and Pitcairn Islands. There they feed on just about anything they can fit in their mouths. Hogfish from the genus Bodianus are known to grow fairly large, averaging about 15 inches. The term “busellatus” roughly translates as saddleback, a reference to the large black spot on its back.

Very, very few—and in some cases none—of these species show up in the aquarium hobby, so it’s quite a treat to see them here at Quality Marine.

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