A rare species of fish that is found in only one place in the world has gone on display at Tynemouth’s Blue Reef Aquarium.
Banggai cardinalfish were first discovered in the 1930s living among coral reefs off a series of tiny Indonesian islands
The tropical fish – which is black and white with long fins – is a species of cardinalfish and is found only around the Banggai islands midway between the Philippines and Australia.
Marine experts at the North Tyneside attraction are hoping the new group, which is made up of a mix of adult males and females will form a new captive breeding colony there.
Known as mouth brooders, cardinalfish are among the world’s most attentive parents. Following a complex mating ritual the father holds the fertilised eggs in his mouth until they hatch.
Once the young have hatched their fathers spit them out among the spines of a long-spined sea urchin where they will continue to live, without any further parental care but protected by the spines of the urchin.
Their black and white stripes allow them to be perfectly camouflaged amongst the spines of their nursery sea urchin safe from the unwanted attentions of any would-be predators.
Blue Reef Aquarium’s Terry McKeone said: “This new display will help highlight the fragility of many marine species.
“Being confined to a single location makes the entire species vulnerable to extinction. Hopefully our captive-bred Banggai cardinals will start their own breeding programme here.
“We have incorporated three long spined urchins into the display and we are cautiously optimistic they will start to reproduce,” he added.
Issued on behalf of the Blue Reef Aquarium. For more information and to arrange interviews and picture opportunities please contact Rosie Harris or Terry McKeone on 0191 258 1031.