The Marine Aquarium Conference of North America (yes, we’re still talking about it) was full of gorgeous corals and super rare fish, but we have a real big soft spot for this not too rare wrasse species. The McCosker’s Flasher Wrasse (Paracheilinus mccoskeri) is a gorgeous fish to say the least, sporting some rather striking purple stripes over an orange/red body, but it’s not just the color that makes this wrasse so attractive. The McCosker’s wrasse, like most flasher wrasse, has an elaborate dominance ritual that features brightly flashing body colors and a beautiful fin display. Unfortunately, that display cannot be seen here, though you can see hints of greatness in those tucked in fins and terrific coloration.
Despite our confidence in ID’ing this fish, it wasn’t exactly an easy process. There are several fish that look almost identical to the McCosker’s wrasse, with the Yellowfin Flasher Wrasse (P. flavianalis) probably being the closest doppelganger. Both fish have a similar availability, and therefore price, so it’s not a total wash if you end up with the wrong species if you’re looking for one in particular.