Regal Angel Red Sea Orange

Aquarists have long recognized the regional color differences inherent in the Regal Angelfish Pygoplites diacanthus. Those from the Indian Ocean have always been held in higher esteem, as their breast...
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Aquarists have long recognized the regional color differences inherent in the Regal Angelfish Pygoplites diacanthus. Those from the Indian Ocean have always been held in higher esteem, as their breast coloration is a vibrant yellow in comparison to the drab grey of the Pacific population. But, despite these readily apparent phenotypic characteristics, the scientific community has largely ignored the issue. But now, with the recent publication of an in-depth molecular study from across the species’ range, we finally are beginning to unravel the mystery of this Yellow Regal’s origins, and it’s turning out to be a bit more complex than we would have suspected. The concept of geminate species pairs should be familiar to aquarists. As it relates to Indo-Pacific marine fishes, it most often refers to two species which find themselves restricted to either the Indian or Pacific Ocean, implying that a single, formerly homogenous population was split into two distinct species by the formation of a land bridge across Indonesia during past periods of lowered sea level. Unfortunately, taxonomists have been highly inconsistent in how they treat populations which exhibit this phenomenon. Some recently described species (Nemateleotris decora/exquisita, Pseudojuloides cerasinus/kaleidos) have been split, while others (Pomacanthus imperator or Arothron hispidus) show just as much variation but, due to a lack of study, remain lumped as a single taxon.
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