News / Species Spotlight / White Fangblenny (Meiacanthus smithi) (11/07/18)

White Fangblenny (Meiacanthus smithi)

Species Spotlight - White Fangblenny (Meiacanthus smithi)
For some fishes, elegance comes naturally. Such is the case with Meiacanthus smithi, a beautiful creature of unblemished alabaster, marked only with a daring black streak that runs along its dorsal fin. Where other species dazzle with vibrant colors and ostentatious patterns, the White Fangblenny impresses with its restrained beauty. It is like a piece of minimalist art a Franz Kline in fish form.

Youll find M. smithi in the Maldives and Sri Lanka, as well as the reefs of the Eastern Indian Ocean. It belongs to a highly diverse complex of species scattered across the Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea to Samoa. Out west, we find familiar aquarium species like M. atrodorsalis (Red Sea) and M. mossambicus (Africa), while in Pacific we encounter M. nigrolineatus, along with the more restricted M. oualanensis (Fiji) and M. tongaensis (Tonga). [Note: thats the simplified version of whats going on in the Pacific; there are likely many undescribed species hiding in plain sight here.]

As an aquarium fish, wild-collected specimens of M. smithi can be a bit finicky, sometimes refusing foods in favor of grazing upon live invertebrates. The natural diet is likely to be comprised heavily of polychaete worms and crustaceans, so a healthy, diverse and well-established reef aquarium is recommended so as to provide some natural fodder. With a bit of time, most will soon learn to relish frozen mysis and brine shrimp, though dry foods are generally less-enticing.

Fang blennies possess a pair of venomous teeth and thus tend to be ignored by most fishes. Dont worry the bite is relatively harmless for aquarists, barely registering as anything more than a quick pinch. In smaller aquariums, this group tends to get along well with just about any tankmate, even some of the obnoxious ones like grammas and dottybacks. For Meiacanthus, venom has proven to be a highly effective strategy, allowing for these little fishes to speciate extensively in the Indo-Pacific.