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Pseudojuloides polackorum: a new pencil wrasse

By Leonard Ho - Posted Mar 30, 2015 09:00 AM
Allan Connell, Benjamin Victor, and John Randall have just described a new reef wrasse from the east coast of South Africa. The new pencil wrasse is a beauty and has already been available to hobbyist (albeit expensive and rare) thanks to the increasing collection of African reef fish (particularly Madagascar/Mauritius) in recent years.
Pseudojuloides polackorum: a new pencil wrasse

Photo by Dennis Polack, the diver who first brought the undiscovered species to the scientists' attention and hence the fish was named after him and his wife, Sandy.

Like most labrids, the males are the much more vibrantly colored and larger of the two sexes. The closest relative of Pseudojuloides polackorum is Pseudojuloides cerasinus, with P.polackorum being the more beautiful of the two in my opinion.

Male (top) and female (bottom)
Male (top) and female (bottom)

Pencil wrasses have a reputation of being finicky and difficult to care for, but I believe the success of captive husbandry largely depends on how well the fish is handled between collection and aquarium.  More recent experiences with Pseudojuloides suggest that carefully handled specimens do very well in aquariums - very active fish with big personalities.  These reef-safe wrasses are world-class jumpers though so open top aquariums are a no-no.  They also require sandbeds as they, like leopard wrasses, sleep and hide in the sand.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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