Harlequin Tuskfish - Choerodon fasciatus 

Commonly named Harlequin Tuskfish, Choerodon fasciatus (Perciformes - Labridae) is a distinctive fish that seems to have been painted with watercolors in stripes of blue, yellow, red and orange colors. This fish lives in lagoons that are located on the outer edges of reef areas throughout the Indo-Pacific.

Being part of the wrasse family, all Choerodon fasciatus hatch as females (they are protogynous hermaphrodite). As they become adults, loose social groups form. Within each social group, the most dominant female undergoes physiological changes to become a male. Each group consists of one male and multiple females. When the males dies or leaves the second most dominant female becomes the male.

Photo credit: ©Michael McKnight | Locality: Heron Island Queensland, Australia (2014)

A slender mola washed up at the research station that I worked at this summer. My buddy juan took this shot. These fish are gorgeous and are a pelagic fish that rarely come up into our temperate waters. This is another sure sign of an El Niño year here in California

They grow to about a meter which is nothing compared to some of the other members of the molidae family. 

This big guy is a Mola mola, also known as an ocean sunfish and they grow to weights over 1000kg! 

The Endangered Banggai Cardinalfish: A “Lazarus species”

As many other species, the Banggai Cardinalfish is generically called a “Lazarus species” because it was thought to be extinct until found again.

Pterapogon kauderni (Perciformes - Apogonidae) is a marine fish with an extreme small geographic range in the Indonesian Banggai Archipelago. It  was described in 1933, forgotten for some 60 years, and rediscovered in 1991.

Almost overnight it became very popular in the international aquarium pet trade such that a decade after its rediscovery 118,000 wild-caught individuals entered the trade each month, a level that was deemed totally unsustainable, and in its latest IUCN threat assessment in 2007 it met the criteria to be listed as Endangered.

Hence, some authors and conservationists think there may be good reasons to keep rediscoveries quiet, arguing that publicizing the rediscovery of Lazarus species or populations can undermine conservation efforts, especially when the species is highly valued by collectors.

Reference: [1]

Photo credit: ©Erik Schlogl | Locality: off Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia

Ogcocephalus sp. - The walking Batfish

The different species of Batfish comprised in the genus Ogcocephalus (Lophiiformes - Ogcocephalidae) are marine tropical fishes with extremely long rostrum. They also have dark spots separated by pale lines that usually form a reticulum occurring in patches on the face and sides of the tail and in the pectoral axillae. The lateral line organs are in the cheek.

Most batfishes are strongly depressed for benthic life. In many species, pelvic and anal fins are relatively thick-skinned and stout for supporting the body off the substrate. They swim awkwardly but are capable of walking on the bottom using their large armlike pectoral and smaller pelvic fins. Batfishes are bottom dwellers and feed on small invertebrates and fishes.

There are 13 species in the genus Ogcocephalus, all of them occurring in the Western Atlantic, from Antilles to Brazil.

References: [1] - [2]

Photo credit: ©Alejandro Alamo | Locality: Cuba (2010)

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