The Rose Island Dottyback is coming, for real this time


Rose Island Dottyback

My personal saga, or infatuation if you will, with rare species of dottybacks just got a bit more interesting. Yesterday afternoon, LiveAquaria posted an image of a rare Rose Island Dottyback (Pseudoplesiops rosae) on their Facebook page indicating that it would officially be heading to the Diver’s Den section of their website later that evening. Also included in the description was a little tidbit about this being the first time they have ever offered up this species for sale, and being a total fan of both the fish and the retailer, my heart jumped into my throat with the excitement of finally getting a crack at owning this coveted dottyback. As some of you may recall, my first attempt at this species didn’t go so well as I purchased an individual that showed up at a local fish store as a misidentified fine-scale dottyback (Lubbockichthys multisquamatus). Needless to say, I was a bit dejected by the whole experience, and fears about never getting to own the beautiful Rose Island dottyback lingered within. So, when the fish resurfaced at LiveAquaria (with a picture cementing the ID), I just knew I had to move quickly. Luck was on my side this time and I swooped in and purchased the dottyback of my dreams as soon as it was made it available.

Continue below for a brief story about the fine-scale dottyback purchase, which basically ignited my obsessions with the Rose Island dottyback.

Fine-scale Dottyback (Lubbockichthys multisquamatus)

The fine-scale dottyback (Lubbockichthys multisquamatus) that was misidentified

As some of you may recall, I was contacted by a local fish store back in March with news that the ever gorgeous Rose Island Dottyback (P. rosae) had shown up. We got our hands of a few pictures of the fish, and not being entirely familiar with the species at the time, we assumed the original identification was correct. After all, the images we saw looked like P. rosae and there were almost no detailed photographs of the species on the web that we could track down. After a brief infatuation with the dottyback, I decided that it was just too cool to pass up and ended up bringing it home, where it continues to thrive even to this day.

The fish immediately disappeared into the rocks, since it is a naturally cryptic species, and after a few days it started coming out regularly and taking food. At that point, and after having done more reading about P. rosae and similar looking species, I began to question the fish’s identity. It lacked the distinctive yellow hood over its eyes, but instead had a yellow caudal fin (tail). Both of those features pointed to a completely different species. I ended up settling on the correct ID being the fine-scale dottyback, and although it’s considered to be rarer than the Rose Island dottyback, I still couldn’t help but feel a little let down.

To make matters worse, the fish store contacted me once again to say that a female dottyback had shown up on a stock list from the same supplier. Knowing that the supplier wass the one who originally misidentified the fish, I agreed to the special order hoping they had messed up on this one too. The end goal was to have a female fine-scale dottyback to accompany my male, and since the price was right, it was a low risk situation. I got the email stating that the fish had arrived, but when I showed up the next day, it was nowhere to be found. To this day, it’s whereabouts are a mystery, but employees at the store assume it hopped into an overflow, which drained into a large predator tank full of groupers and lionfish.

At that point, I had already become so emotionally invested in the Rose Island dottyback and the idea of owning one, or preferably a pair, that the hunt never stopped. Luckily, one did show up and the order has been placed. Hopefully the hardy fish makes the trip ok and it becomes a great addition to my aquarium.


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