For some reason, we’ve been sitting on this story for a couple of weeks and just never got around to actually publishing it. We will let MACNA take the blame for that. Regardless, here is an interesting find out of the waters of Southeast Australia. The crew at Pro Dive were spending a little time getting to know the inhabitants of Lord Howe Island when one of the rarest angelfish in the world just so happened to cross their path. The Ballina Angelfish (Chaetodontoplus ballinae), referred to as “one of those unicorns of the sea”, can be seen casually strolling about in its somewhat abnormally shallow habitat nibbling on stuff as it nervously keeps a safe distance from the diver in pursuit.
These fish are incredibly rare. The first described specimen was hauled up in 1959, after which only a handful (or less) have even been seen. The species normally inhabits deepwater reef habitats in excess of 100 meters below the surface, but apparently at Balls Pyramid (just south of Lord Howe Island) they have been spotted in shallower waters.
Due to its natural rarity and that its already limited range occurs within marine sanctuaries, the fish is non-existent in the aquarium trade and will continue to be for probably as long as we’re around. Still, it is a beautiful fish that is worthy of its moment in the limelight, and we’d love to see more dive footage of it. Or, we could take Pro Dive up on their offer (in the video clip) to come and dive Balls Pyramid to see them in person. Just add it to the growing bucket list.