News / Species Spotlight / Lennards Wrasse (Anampses lennardi) (02/14/18)

Lennards Wrasse (Anampses lennardi)

Lennards Wrasse (Anampses lennardi)
There are a number of holy grails within the wrasse family. For example, theres Claires Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus claire), an almost mythic beast from the depths of French Polynesia, or the Purple-boned Fairy Wrasse (Cirrhilabrus blatteus), a Red Sea relative which has still never been seen in captivity. For many years, the Feminine Wrasse (Anampses femininus) was on par with these, but it may have been supplanted within its genus by an even less-common and more spectacular species, Lennards Wrasse (A. lennardi). A small number of specimens first appeared in 2010, but it wasnt until this year that a new supply was finally established, allowing it to once again be made available.

The rarity and price of Anampses femininus traces back to its restricted distribution in the subtropical reefs of the South Pacific. If you want one, youll probably need to travel to far flung places like New Caledonia or French Polynesia to find them,

Anampses lennardi

but you might be surprised to discover that this rare fish is actually fairly abundant in these waters. On the other hand, A. lennardi has a much smaller geographic distribution, being found only along Australias northern coastline, from Shark Bay in the west to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the east.

It occurs in sheltered, inshore lagoonal reefs, which is the sort of habitat that is often more laden in silt than stony corals. As with others in its genus, this fish rests beneath the silt and sands when startled or sleeping, and its critical to provide this when acclimating these wrasses to aquarium life. Anampses are usually described as being expert only fishes, and for good reason. If not furnished with a large, well-established aquarium stocked with appropriately peaceful tankmates, they will often fail to thrive. Feeding can be another challenge, with a mix of live and frozen foods being helpful for conditioning specimens to their new diet.

Anampses lennardi Juvenile

Nearly every image of Lennards Wrasse shows a vibrant yellow and blue striped animal. This is the female coloration, which should last for several years, depending on what size they are obtained at. Juveniles are much darker but boast the same blue stripes. The terminal males, on the other hand, are almost never seen in photographs. These are surprisingly large creatures, capable of reaching up to a foot in length. The base coloration of the body dims a bit to a yellowish green, while the blue stripes dissipate into a series of spots arranged one per scale. However, to make up for this, new stripes develop on the caudal fin, a black spot emerges in the center of the dorsal fin, and the forebody darkens considerably. Lennards Wrasse is born anew as an entirely new fish, one which few have ever had the pleasure to witness firsthand.