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The blue-throated fairy wrasse: a new species

By Leonard Ho - Posted May 15, 2018 09:00 AM
At a cursory glance, we tend to lump similar-looking reef fish into a monolithic species and chalk up differences as variants. But upon closer examination, we are finding sufficient distinction to satisfy the description of a new species. Cirrhilabrus cyanogularis is a case in point.
The blue-throated fairy wrasse: a new species

Cirrhilabrus cyanogularis, aquarium specimen from Sulawesi, Indonesia. Photo by K. Endoh.

Cirrhilabrus cyanogularis closely resembles Cirrhilabrus rubripinnis, C. tonozukai, and Palau, and C. filamentosus.  The four species are juxtaposed in the image below.  The most noticeable distinction for C. cyanogularis is that it exhibits a lot more blue pigmentation, which is especially prominent around its throat area, hence its latin name 'cyanogularis' (cyano = blue + gularis = throat).  Now that you know this distinction once overlooked, C. cyanogularis is easy to differentiate from the others as a new species.


The new fairy wrasses' distribution and habitat is described as:

Cirrhilabrus cyanogularis is known from the type locality from Banguingui Island, Sulu Archipelago, Philippines and from an unknown locality in Sulawesi, Indonesia (Figure 8). The species has also been collected regularly for the aquarium trade at Sarangani Island, off the southern tip of Mindanao, Philippines (B. Shutman, pers. comm.). Photographs in the Image Database of Fishes, Kanagawa Prefecturaz Museum of Natural History (KPM) indicate that the species ranges to Sabah, Malaysia (Kapalai Island, KPMNR71060; Mabur Island, KPM-NR71181). The species has also been photographed in Indonesia at Derawan, Eastern Kalimantan, and Bali (Figures 9A, 10A). Like other species in the genus, it favors rubble slopes with little structure, at depths of about 30 m, though has been photographed in as little as 4 m.

Cirrhilabrus cyanogularis is described in ZooTaxa.

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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