News / Species Spotlight / Species Spotlight - Deepwater Anthias (Pseudanthias cf cooperi) (09/06/17)

Species Spotlight - Deepwater Anthias (Pseudanthias cf cooperi)

Species Spotlight - Deepwater Anthias (Pseudanthias cf cooperi)
For all their beauty, diversity and popularity, the colorful little basslets of the genus Pseudanthias have not been particularly well-studied to date. Many of the geographically widespread species which we know and love are likely to be hiding a great deal of hidden biodiversity. The Lyretail Anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis) is perhaps the best known example, as the populations in the Indian and Pacific Oceans are striking different from one another. This is also true for a somewhat lesser-known member of this genus, P. cooperi.

A quick search on the internet will reveal the impressive variability this fish can display. Males can be almost solidly peachy-pink or almost entirely white, depending on the creatures mood. A bright reflective stripe running along the back is seen in particularly excited or aroused males, calling to mind a similar motif seen in many fairy wrasses (Cirrhilabrus spp.). Males also sport a prominent vertical bar along the midbody, though the extent of this is also quite variable, becoming more prominent with age.

If there is a consistent difference between the main oceanic populations in this fish, it might be best observed in the anterior portion of the dorsal fin. Those from the Indian Ocean (at least, those from Africa and the Mascarene Plateau) have a solidly red fin, while those in the Pacific appear to develop a deep, purple spot in the first few membranes. The name P. cooperi originates from a specimen collected in the Maldives, while those in the Pacific are often treated (at least within the aquarium trade) as P. kashiwae, which was described from the Japanese population. And, further east, youll also find P. mooreanus and P. hiva, both endemic to portions of Polynesia.

Aquarium care for any of these fishes is typical of the genus. Harems are often kept, though single specimens will also do fine on their own. A proper captive diet will include a mix of small, meaty foods (chopped krill, mysis) fed multiple times a day. Max size is near six inches, so a moderately large aquarium is strongly recommended for this active fish, especially when kept in groups. Males confined together in smaller tanks do not appreciate their own company. And, note, despite the common name, this species is not found in unusually deep waters for the genus. The typical depth is somewhere in the 10-60 meter range, with most found somewhere in the middle of this range.