John Earle

Plectranthias nanus Randall, 1980
     Extremely secretive, this tiny member of the grouper family (Serranidae) attains only about 1.5 in. and lives deep within the reef, or in rubble, usually in exposed areas at depths of 20 to at least 180 ft. Sightings are rare, to say the least. This image by John Earle (a still extracted from HD video) may be the only existing photo of this fish alive in its natural habitat (in this case, a cave at Pupukea, O`ahu, at a depth of about 25 ft.). The species has an Indo-Pacific distribution but is associated more with islands than continental coasts.

Below is an aquarium photo by Matthew Ross. He says the fish "jumped" into his net while he in a cave trying to catch something else. It remained hidden at first, but after several weeks in his aquarium it lost its shyness and now stays out in the open most of the time..

Matthew Ross

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Text and photos copyright by John P. Hoover