Class: Actinopterygii (Ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Serranidae (Sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets)
Subfamily: Anthiinae (Anthias)

On exhibit:

Pseudanthias dispar – Redfin anthias
P. lori – Lori’s anthias
P. randalli – Randall’s anthias* (not currently on exhibit 1-31-14)
P. tuka – Yellowstrip anthias
P. ventralis ­– Longfin anthias
Serranocirrhitus latus  – Sunburst anthias ( a closely related genus)

 DISTRIBUTION: Pseudanthias species are found throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Many of the some 64 species have fairly wide distribution.

 HABITAT: During the day, they are found along the upper reef face in areas of strong current. At night, when predators threaten, they seek shelter in the reef’s caves and crevices.

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Pseudanthias are small, fast-moving, colorful fishes. The male and female pseudanthias, like many members of the family Serranidae display gender-specific body shape and/or color. The male of P. dispar, for example, has a bright red dorsal fin and more pink and blue on the head and sides than the generally yellow female. The male yellowstripe anthias is a deeper purple overall than the female that sports a bright yellow stripe on the back not seen in the male.

DIET IN THE WILD: Plankton and fish eggs.

REPRODUCTION: All are sequential protogynous hermaphrodites. Protogynous literally means “first female,” a reference to the fact that all individuals are born as females, but a few, usually the largest females, will in time will change sex and develop male sex organs. The sex change, which can be completed in only a few days, is triggered by the loss of the dominant male, usually to predation.

 This reproductive strategy may confer at least two benefits: first, many young, healthy females serviced by a few large males means that in a given aggregation of fish more eggs, which are larger and therefore more energetically expensive, are produced.  Sperm, especially that produced by a large male, is plentiful enough to fertilize the eggs of even a large group of females. Also, the large males are extremely territorial and protective of their harems.

PREDATORS: These small fish are snack food for many larger predators. Life span of most species is about 3­–5 years.


REMARKS: The Steinhart displays several other fish families besides serranids with members that practice protogynous hermaphoditism, including wrasses, angelfishes, gobies, found in a number of tanks. Bocalo, the giant sea bass, is the Steinhart’s most notable practitioner