Sunday, May 18, 2008


OK, it is not the most beautiful fish you will ever see, but it is rare. In fact, I know of no other photo of the fish (there obviously may be some I am not aware of). In fact, in Anthony Gill’s revision of the subfamily Pseudochrominae (published in 2004), he did not include a photo of a live specimen, nor was he able to provide information on the "live coloration" (he only had preserved individuals on which to base his description of the species). The fish of which I speak, and that is pictured here, is the margined dottyback (Pholidochromis marginata). Its identifying characteristic is the submarginal dark stripes on the dorsal and caudal fins and the head pores that are surrounded by dark pigments. Gill reports it from Papua New Guinea; Sulawesi, Indonesia; and the Solomon Islands. This individual pictured here came from the Solomons.

The margined dottyback is one of two members of the genus. The second member, Pholidochromis cerasina (a.k.a. cherry dottyback) (described in 2004 after Gill’s revision was published), has become quite common in the aquarium trade. The margined dottyback is less likely to be a hit with hobbyists because of its more subdued coloration. Both are medium-sized dottybacks, and like most confamilials, they tend to be a little boisterous, pestering smaller fishes or less aggressive piscine neighbors, especially if kept in smaller tanks.

The fish was sent to me by one of my best fish buddies, Dennis Reynolds, who owns Aquamarines (a wholesale fish supplier). I use to buy fish from Dennis when I owned an aquarium store and he sends me odd fish from time to time.
Copyright (2008) Scott W. Michael

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