Ballina & Halfbanded Angelfishes Filmed Together At Ball’s Pyramid

By Joe Rowlett 4 years agoNo Comments

Lord Howe Island inaugural Dive Week 2016

Lord Howe Island inaugural Dive Week 2016 organised by Pinetrees Resort and Pro Dive Lord Howe Island. It’s not often Diveplanit puts up a full chronological view of all the dives, but 16 minute video has them all. Including the Admiralty Islands, the Lagoon, Red Point and the infamous Ball’s Pyramid.

The Ballina Angelfish (Chaetodontoplus ballinae) is among the rarest pomacanthids on the planet and one of the last true “book fishes” in the family. It’s presently known from just two subtropical reef systems—Ballina, New South Wales (after which it is named) and Lord Howe Island, an isolated speck of land in the middle of the Coral Sea that’s renowned for its highly endemic fauna.

The Halfbanded Angelfish (Genicanthus semicinctus) is another exquisitely uncommon species from these cool South Pacific waters, recorded from Lord Howe, as well as the little-known Kermadec Islands found further east. These are unquestionably two of Australia’s most spectacular piscine treasures, and, for the first time, video has surfaced of them swimming happily together.

This short clip was filmed in 2016 at Ball’s Pyramid, a barren and virtually lifeless volcanic remnant that protrudes from the water like Böcklin’s Isle of the Dead. It lies just a few miles to the southeast of Lord Howe, and, until now, the greatest (only?) claim to fame for this land has been the sensational rediscovery of an immense stick insect which had previously been extirpated from Lord Howe (owing to the unfortunate introduction of rats).

But maybe Ball’s Pyramid ought to be lauded just as much for its incredible marinelife. For all its formidable austerity, the waters which surround it abound with an exceptionally unique and vibrant fauna. In addition to the aforementioned angelfishes, you’ll also find everyone’s favorite aquarium trophy fish, Chaetodontoplus conspicillatus. Keeping this trio together in a Ball’s Pyramid biotope would make for a legendary aquarium, no? But don’t expect to be seeing these available on LiveAquaria anytime soon… at least, not until Australia starts allowing some broodstock to be collected. If we can breed the Conspicuous Angelfish, surely we can do the same with its classier cousin, the Ballina.


Ballina Angelfish

This clip contains footage of one of the worlds rarest fish, the Ballina Angelfish. This footage is taken on a Go Pro Hero 3 with no lights or touch ups.


 Joe Rowlett

  (470 articles)

Joe is classically trained in the zoological arts and sciences, with a particular focus on the esoterica of invertebrate taxonomy and evolution. He’s written for several aquarium publications and for many years lorded over the marinelife at Chicago’s venerable Old Town Aquarium. He currently studies prairie insect ecology at the Field Museum of Natural History and fish phylogenetics at the University of Chicago.

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