RSS Spotted Multibar Angelfish channels its inner Snow Leopard

MASA Admin

8 May 2007
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A spotted multibar angelfish has been collected which could be one of the most sensational aberrant angelfish we’ve ever seen. Besides the very rare hybrid multibar angelfish specimen, this species is very consistent in its pattern, but we could never have imagined the striking appearance of the spotted ‘Snow Leopard’ multibar angelfish.

The multibar and peppermint angelfishes, Paracentropyge multifasciata and P. boylei respectively, are already some of the most graceful and elegant of the marine angelfish, and it’s no surprise that these two fish are perennial aquarium favorites. We’ve always said that if peppermint angelfish were common, but multibars angelfish rare, we would all equally covet the bold striped pattern of Paracentropyge multifasciata.

A fully mature, large adult multibar angelfish is truly a sight to behold, and this beauty translates extremely well to the bold spotted multibar angelfish pictured here today. Unsurprisingly, like so many of the best oddball and aberrant pygmy angelfishes that have been revealed to the aquarium world, this singularly amazing specimen comes to us from Sustainable Reef Suppliers Vanuatu.

Better known as SRS Vanuatu, this outfit is in the epicenter of unusual Centropyge diversity, which we can now infer also includes Paracentropyge as well. We have no explanation for why the wildly colored pygmy angelfish routinely surface in Vanuatu, but the single picture shared by Grant Norton is one of the most extreme aberrations of pattern ever witnessed in the genus Paracentropyge, and perhaps the entire angelfish family.

Normal colored multibar angelfish on the left, the wildly colored spotted multibar angelfish on the right. Photo Jake Adams/Grant Norton.

What makes the Snow Leopard multibar angelfish so striking is that unlike the messy scribbled pattern of P. multifasciata hybrids, the spotted multibar mostly preserves the order of the original stripes. The center of the body still has the basic bars of the species’ template, but these break up into a bold spotted pattern throughout all of the fins and even on the face. Even the yellow bottom part of the original stripes breaks up into yellow spots on the anal fin, giving this fish an almost cartoonish appearance.

Needless to say, we hope to see more of this fish in the future and wish it all the best in its future aquarium home in Hong Kong. Captive breeding of marine angelfishes is still very much in its infancy but for us the spotted multibar angelfish is like the Lightning Maroon Clownfish of marine angelfishes, and this is one domesticated angelfish strain that we could totally get behind.

The Snow Leopard multibar angelfish collected in Vanuatu. Photo Grant Norton

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