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Sunburst Anthias

The diminutive sunburst anthias is different than most fancy sea basses in that it is more suitable for captivity.

By Bob Fenner |

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Aquarium Fish International

With a genus name of Serranocirrhitus, you might imagine this little fancy sea bass would be different than other anthiines (Cirrhites is a hawkfish genus). Most of the popular aquarium species in the Anthiinae subfamily are open-water schooling types. On the other hand, the hawkfish anthias, fathead or sunburst anthias (Serranocirrhitus latus) lives either solitarily or in a small haremic group mainly under overhangs or in caves. Because of its solitary nature and natural habitat, this species makes a hardy aquarium resident. Given some easy provisions, this can be a gorgeous addition to almost any peaceful reef system.

Serranocirrhitus latus is part of the large family Serranidae, which contains the sea basses, including groupers, fairy basslets and fancy sea basses like the sunburst anthias, which is part of the Serranidae subfamily Anthiinae.

This species was once placed with the hawkfishes because of its morphology (structure). Externally it is much more like the cirrhitids than anthiines, with a high and deep head, and long pectoral fins. Behaviorally the sunburst anthias is much different than the fancy basses because it is more sedentary and does not school, while the fancy basses are open-water swimmers and schoolers.     

Want to read the full story? Pick up the March 2012 issue of Aquarium Fish International today.

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