SOUTH SEAS DEVIL
Chrysiptera taupou Jordan & Seale, 1906
Bright blue damselfishes like this are so common
on most tropical Indo-Pacific reefs they are scarcely noticed. In Hawai`i,
however, fishes of this color are unknown and the appearance of this fish
in shallow water at Hanauma Bay, O`ahu, in December 2002 caused quite
a stir. It was even written up in a Susan Scott's Ocean
Watch newspaper column. It has since disappeared.
Was this blue beauty a waif, or the result of
an aquarium release? Most likely the latter, as another individual of
the same species was seen by Matthew Parry in 2004 at He`eia Small Boat
Harbor in Kane`ohe Bay, where other released fish species (such as a Lemonpeel
Angel) have been seen. This species' natural homethe southwestern
Pacific islands of Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Fiji and Samoais probably
too far from Hawai`i for it to have arrived here naturally. It and others
like it, though, are common in the aquarium trade, generally sold under
the name "Blue Devil." It's a good name: they can be extremely
aggressive toward other tankmates, causing havoc in an otherwise peaceful
aquarium. It is quite possible, therefore, that a frustrated aquarist
released one or more of these fish somewhere on O`ahu. (It seems unlikely
it would have been Hanauma Bay itself because of the nature preserve's
strict security.) If so, the species may succeed in establishing itself
here, or it may die out. The fact that two have been seen on different
sides of O`ahu and almost two years apart suggests that it might be reproducing
here, but all sightings to date have been of apparently lone individuals.
If you see one, email me! The photo above
was taken by Larry Winnik in Hanauma Bay, O`ahu, at a depth of about.
Another lone individual has been spotted in Kewalo Basin - This one can
be easily seen from shore.