Fish | Mandarin Fish | The Mandarin fish or Mandarin dragonet (Synchiropus splendidus),is a small,brightly-colored member of the dragonet family,which is popular in the saltwater aquarium trade.The Mandarin fish is native to the Pacific,ranging approximately from theRyukyu Islands south to Australia.
The Mandarin fish was 1st described as Callionymus splendidus in1927 byAlbert WilliamHerre,an American ichthyologist working in the Philippines. Mandarin Fish was later placed in genus Synchiropus.The generic name Synchiropus is from Ancient Greek syn-,meaning"together",and-chiropus meaning"hand-foot".The specific epithet splendidus is from Latin for splendid.The common name of the Mandarin fish comes from its extremely vivid colouration,evoking the robes of an Imperial Chinese mandarin.Other common names include Mandarin goby, Green mandarin, Striped Mandarin fish, Striped dragonet, Green dragonet and sometimes Psychedelic Mandarin fish .The similarly named mandarin fish (Siniperca chuatsi),properly known as the Chinese perch,is only distantly related.
The Mandarin fish belongs to the perciform family Callionymidae,the dragonets,which counts 10genera and more than 182species.Genus Synchiropus counts 51species,divided into 10sub-genera.The Mandarin fish is in sub-genus Synchiropus(Pterosynchiropus) along with the Australian LSD-fish(S. occidentalis)and the LSD-or psychedelic fish(S. picturatus).
To date,S. splendidus is 1 of only 2 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.
Mandarin fish 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 6cm).They feed primarily on small crustaceans and other invertebrates.
Based on the gut analyses of 7wild fish,Sadovy et al.(2001)determined that the Mandarin fish 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.
Despite their popularity in the aquarium trade, Mandarin fish are considered difficult to keep,as their feeding habits are very specific.Some fish never adapt to aquarium life,refusing to eat anything but live amphipods and copepods(as in the wild),though individuals that do acclimatize to aquarium food are considered to be quite hardy and highly resistant to diseases such as ich. Mandarin Fish can not contract the diseaseIchthyophthirius because they do not have the skin type that this common aquarium disease affects.
The Mandarin fish appeared on a 39kip postage stamp fromLaos issued in1987,and a 40cent postage stamp of theFederated States ofMicronesia issued on 26August1993.