With over 500 marine species swimming, diving and floating throughout the
Waikīkī Aquarium, it's hard to focus one's attention on all the marine residents.
This year, visitors will have the opportunity to come face to fin with some of the ocean's
most beautiful creatures as the Aquarium highlights 12 species through its Critter-of-the-Month program.
This month we are highlighting hybrid fishes!
Waikīkī Aquarium is home to many unique species, some of which cannot be seen in any other public aquarium. These unique species include a number of naturally occurring hybrid marine fishes, which are believed to be very rare. Such fishes usually occur in areas where one species is uncommon and, if unable to find a suitable mate, may spawn with other closely related fishes and produce offspring that are a cross of both species.
Highlighted below are some of the hybrid fish that are on exhibit at Waikīkī Aquarium.
Potter's x Fisher's angelfish (Centropyge potteri x Centropyge fisheri)
When this fish was collected by William Crook and donated to Waikīkī Aquarium in 2007, it was the only known Potter's x Fisher's cross. Since then two more of these hybrids have been captured, but this individual is still the only Potter's x Fisher's angelfish on exhibit in a public aquarium.
This fish can be seen in the Deep Reef exhibit in Gallery 2.
Flame x Potter's angelfish. (Centropyge loricula x Centropyge potteri)
This rare hybrid angelfish was collected in August 2011 by Glen Fukuda, who found it in 30 feet of water in Maunalua Bay. Around Oahu, Potter's angelfish are fairly common, but flame angelfish are becoming increasingly rare. In October, this beautiful, bright orange angelfish was added to the Theatre tank in the Corals are Alive exhibit.
Saddle x Sunset wrasse (Thallasoma duperrey x Thallasoma lutescens)
As fish observers around Oahu know, the saddle wrasse is one of the most common fish on the reef, while the sunset wrasse is very rarely seen. Thus, a rare sunset wrasse was likely forced to choose a closely related saddle wrasse as its mate, leading to these hybrids. Waikīkī Aquarium has two hybrid Thallasoma wrasses on exhibit in the Marine Protected Areas exhibit. Matt Ross, who generously donated both of these fishes, states that even though these hybrids are very rare around Oahu, he sees them more often than the pure sunset wrasses.