HabitatLagoons and outer reefs
- Orange with a violet-edged orange stripe that runs from the eye to the base of the pectoral fin. Female is less colorful than the male.
- Two varieties of the male: red variation has shades of red with yellow spots on its scales; purple variation has shades of purple. Body may have tints of yellow or green. A purple blotch is on the outer pectoral fin on all male variations, as well as a long third dorsal spine.
- Diet consists of plankton in strong currents above the substrate.
- Occurs in the Indo-West Pacific from the Red Sea and East Africa to the Solomon Islands and Fiji, southwest Japan, Palau and East Australia.
- Found in lagoons and outer reefs at depths of 6-66 feet (2-20 m) and is among the most common anthias species on shallow reefs.
- At dusk, the dominant male anthias from each harem participate in “courtship dances” that entail frenzied, zigzag swimming patterns that attract females from their group and lead to coincidental spawning in the aggregation.
- Sequential hermaphrodites; they can change sex from female to male.
- Begin life as females. Due to environmental or social factors, such as the male dying, some females can become males.
- Sex-change ensures that there will always be a male and a female to reproduce.
- When the sex change occurs the dominant female in a harem’s hierarchy is capable of changing her sex to male in a period of two to three weeks.
- In groups and aggregations females greatly outnumber the males.
- Anthias form huge schools made up of small coexisting social groups called “harems.” Each harem is usually led by the largest most colorful male and includes several smaller less dominant males, a group of females and juvenile fish. The dominant male constantly defends its place in the group’s hierarchy by challenging lesser males as well as males from neighboring harems.
- Also known as the “fairy basslet,” and “sea goldie.”
- Reef Fish Identification – Tropical Pacific. Allen, G.; Steene, R.; Humann, P. and Deloach, N., pgs. 138, 147