Shown off in the latest iteration of the AquaNerd Picture of the Week is a changing Lyretail anthias (Pseudanthias squamipinnis). While most anthias are generally pretty expensive and hard to care for, those of the lyretail variety are actually quite the opposite on both counts. Besides being very affordable, and probably one of the most widespread anthias in captivity, individuals from this particular species are quite hardy and adapt well to a community reef aquarium. The fish do have special needs, however, as they require multiple feedings per day in order to adequately fuel their very active lifestyle.
We referred to this anthias as “changing” because even though it has a coloration more in line with the female of the species, we believe the fish is in the process of morphing into a male. This is evident by the slight reddish color on the body and the prominent third spine on the dorsal fin. In the wild, and often in the aquarium, female anthias will turn into males if there are no dominant males present. This is similar to what happens in clownfish, except in the clownfish it’s the males turning into females.