News / Species Spotlight / Ventralis Anthias (Pseudanthias ventralis) (06/04/18)

Ventralis Anthias (Pseudanthias ventralis)

Species Spotlight - Ventralis Anthias (Pseudanthias ventralis)
The Ventralis Anthias is about as beautiful and desirable a fish as youll find for a reef aquarium, but one whose many mysteries have not yet been revealed in full. Though it is among the most recognizable and distinct members of the diverse anthias lineage, the species itself was only named in 1979 by the legendary ichthyologist John Randall. The first specimens had been collected several years prior during an expedition to the subtropical islands at the southernmost edge of Polynesia obscure places like Pitcairn and the Gambier Islands, whose waters had at the time been little explored, particularly at the mesophotic depths at which this fish was found.

In truth, there is not one Ventralis Anthias, but probably four, each with a distinct geographical range and color pattern. The type locality for the species is Polynesia, and this tends to be the least commonly seen within the aquarium trade due to the limited collection in this region.

Pseudanthias-ventralis Coral Sea Male



Specimens have a large purple blotch on the forebody and dorsal fin, and the tail is yellow and unmarked.

Youll find a different sort of Ventralis Anthias around the Coral Sea. Here, the dorsal fin is mostly red (versus the yellow and purple of the true P. ventralis), and the tail has along its posterior edge a red spot bordered by blue lines. Meanwhile, up in Micronesia we encounter another variation on this fish, identifiable for the unmarked yellow anal fin, a larger red spot to the tail, and a red and yellow dorsal fin. When we add in the Hawaiian form, we find the group spans the entirety of the Central Pacific.

As an aquarium fish, P. ventralis has a reputation for being delicate initially, though this can be said to varying degrees of most fishes brought up from the deep. Swimbladder issues, bacterial infections, and mysterious deaths do happen, which is why good quarantine procedures are strongly recommended. Dim lights are helpful in the early going.

Pseudanthias-ventralis Coral Sea Female

Peaceful tankmates are certainly a requirement for this easygoing athias, as is a varied diet of high quality frozen foods fed heavily throughout the day.