Creature Feature: Long finned Anthias

 Long fin anthias-john cooneyPhotography by John Cooney

Today’s featured Hawaiian native is tiny but too bright to be ignored! Long finned Anthias (Pseudanthias ventralis  and Pseudanthias ventralis hawaiiensis) are small (only about 2.8 inches) brightly colored coral reef fish. They are pinkish-yellow in color and the males have blue on the edge of their fins.

These small fish can be found in caves and in crevices beneath ledges in the Hawaiian reefs. Long finned Anthias are filter-feeding fish.  Our avid creature feature readers may remember previous week’s posts about filter-feeders being able to extract plankton from the water through their gill rakers, the pinkish tissues between gills. These fish will leave their hiding places to find areas where plankton are abundant (especially tasty copepods) and feed.

Due to their bright colors, they are often caught for aquarium fish. In previous posts on reef fish, we discuss the diminishing of coral reef communities (like the clown fish and anemones). This is not the case with the Anthias due to their fast reproduction. Their population size is not easily depleted.  The bigger issue concerns fishing practices themselves and the damage to the habitat that could ultimately cause a decrease in population.  Anthias might reproduce quickly, but if fishing practices damage the habitats, there’s no home for those babies! For more information of the threats to the Anthias click here .


Edited by KC O’Shea
Photography by John Cooney


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