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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Mandarinfish


The Mandarinfish or Mandarin dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus), is a small, brightly-colored member of the dragonet family, which is popular in the saltwater aquarium trade. The mandarinfish is native to the Pacific, ranging approximately from the Ryukyu Islands south to Australia. To date, S. splendidus is one of only two animal species known to have blue colouring because of cellular pigment, the other being the closely related LSD-fish (S. picturatus). The name "cyanophore" was proposed for the blue chromatophores, or pigment-containing and light-reflecting cells. In all other known cases, the colour blue comes from thin-film interference from piles of flat, thin and reflecting purine crystals.


Mandarinfish are reef dwellers, preferring sheltered lagoons and inshore reefs. While they are slow-moving and fairly common within their range, they are not easily seen due to their bottom-feeding habit and their small size (reaching only about 6 cm). They feed primarily on small crustaceans and other invertebrates.


Based on the gut analyses of 7 wild fish Sadovy et al. (2001) determined that the mandarinfish has a mixed diet that consists of harpacticoid copepods, polychaete worms, small gastropods, gammaridean amphipods, fish eggs and ostracods. In the wild, feeding is continuous during daytime; the fish peck selectively at small prey trapped on corral substrate in a home range of many square meters.


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