Pterosynchiropus splendidus,
For those who don’t know Latin names, like myself, this a beautiful fish also known as the Mandarin fish. A very shy but yet an amazing creature.


When you Google Mandarin fish you can see stunning pictures of this multi coloured beauty. Though ask any underwater photographer how to get these pictures you will get a very common answer of how difficult it is and how much patience you need to get the million dollar shot. First of all due to their shyness they don’t come out from the corals very much. The best time generally is during dusk. Secondly when they do come out you have to be very quick because of the brief moment that they do come out with an added problem of them moving very quick consequently making it incredibly difficult to get a perfect picture.

However if you are one of the lucky ones you can get the intriguing mating dance on record. In a pair they come out spinning around each other like firework above the coral to then shoot back into the coral. An amazing 5 second experience they repeat a few times.

The Mandarin fish is a species of the Dragonets. Small, perciform, marine fish of the diverse family Callionymidae found mainly in the tropical waters of the western Indo-Pacific. The multi coloured beauty consisting of bright red, orange, green, blue and yellow in an ornate pattern shelter among coral rubble on coastal reefs and lagoons to about 18m. They have spiny fins like ballroom dress flowing around their body making them look very majestic.

Mandarinfish also have a layer of smelly and bitter slime instead of scales, which discourages predators from eating them. Unfortunately there is one predator who is responsible for a fast decline of this magical creature. The worst part of this is the fact that it is not even for survival purposes. This predator (responsible for a lot of destruction of the underwater world) uses the Mandarinfish for entertainment purposes only disregarding the damage it causes to the environment which trickles down all the way to our personal health. By now I am sure you know that I mean us humans being the predator.

Finally would I like to ask you a question? When researching about the Mandarinfish I found that there is not much written material on the Internet. So my question: “What more facts can you tell us about the Mandarinfish and if you found it on the Internet where did you find it?


  • RF

    Mandarin fishes study their food before they eat. They are fussy, careful and slow eaters. They feed mainly on small worms, protozoans and small crustaceans. Dusk is also the time they come out from the reef to mate. The fertilized eggs normally take around 18-24hoirs to hatch into 1mm long larvae. A period of up to 2 weeks they will remain plankton with no parental involvement. The smelly and slimmey skin not just act as a deteriant for predators but it also protects them from skin parasites. The beautiful colour is not purely for making them pretty but the bright colouration signifies to predators that they don’t taste good. Of course the blue colour is unique in the vertebrate world in which only 2 species that have the blue coloured chromatophores called cyanophores.

  • Yasmina

    What amazing fish!!
    Unfortunately this article talks about Mandarins lives in aquariums, but we can learn more
    about their biology, reproduction, foods, etc.