Basslet enthusiasts and temperate marine aquarists everywhere may rejoice: This week a small handful of healthy, vibrant specimens of the splendid (or swallowtail) seaperch Anthias anthias arrived in Oregon and is being carefully conditioned by specialty retailers Coldwater Marine Aquatics (CMA).
Judging from personal accounts and photographs, these little beauties are making a surprisingly fine recovery, considering the great distances thus far traveled. The individuals in this shipment apparently originated from “very deep” waters near the Azores Islands of Portugal.
Anthias anthias is distributed across the eastern Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. A rocky cave-dweller, it is believed to be most active at night. It inhabits deeper waters in the southernmost parts of its range. While there is some debate about its favored water temperature, 55-60 degrees F appears to be acceptable. It is somewhat less of an open-water feeder than its planktivorous brethren, preying mainly on slightly larger crustaceans and fishes nearer the sea floor. Overall, its predominantly pinkish and orangish coloration is rather similar to other, brightly hued, tropical anthiinae, and often sports brilliant blue rings around the eyes. However, it can most readily be distinguished by the large, showy, paddle-shaped pectoral fins of the males. Some of these recently imported individuals, coming in at about 5 inches, are already developing fairly impressive pectorals (the species is said to reach over 10 inches in the wild).
According to the diver, “these guys were collected at 55 meters (180 feet) and one of our boys pierced an ear-drum during the process…”