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Larval rearing of the bicolor anthias, Pseudanthias bicolor

September 01, 2014

Family: Serranidae > Subfamily: Athiinae > Genus: Pseudanthias > Species: P. bicolor

Anthias (Anthiine serranids) are small to medium-sized, brightly colored reef fishes comprising 25 genera and over 200 species. They are planktivores and often form large schools above the reef while feeding. Their peaceful nature and vivid color patterns make them popular in the aquarium trade. Anthias have a long and complicated larval stage and are not aquacultured. 

Bicolor anthias (Pseudanthias bicolor) juveniles were raised in April 2014 from eggs collected in coastal waters off Oahu’s south shore.  This species is widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific from Mauritius to the Line Islands. It is generally found in harems near ledges and caves at depths of 15 to 200 feet. P. bicolor is one of the largest anthias species available in the aquarium trade and also one of the easiest anthias species to care for.

P. bicolor eggs are pelagic, spherical and measure about 700 um in diameter. The larvae measure 1.6 mm TL at hatching and begin to feed on small Parvocalanus copepod nauplii at 3 dph (3.3 mm TL).  Preflexion larvae develop two specializations to pelagic life: intricate head spination and an elongated dorsal spine and pelvic fin rays.  The critical flexion period occurs between 15-19 dph (4-5 mm TL). The elongated dorsal spine and pelvic fin rays become very long during the postflexion stage, with the former extending beyond the tail. Settlement begins at about 45 dph (18 mm TL).  At this time the body develops yellow and orange pigmentation and the extended dorsal spine and pelvic fin rays shorten. Juvenile transition is complete by about 60 dph (25 mm TL). Early juveniles have an orange body and orange blotches on the dorsal, pectoral and anal fins. The blotches on the fins disappear as true juvenile coloration gradually fills in.

The P. bicolor larvae were raised entirely on cultured copepods. Newly settled juveniles were fed a combination of cultured adult copepods and newly hatched artemia. The larvae are moderately difficult to raise. Overall, their rearing requirements appear similar to Centropyge larvae. This is the first Pseudanthias species reared in captivity.