One of the first captive-bred Red Red Mimic Blennies produced by ORA in Ft. Pierce, Florida.

One of the first captive-bred Red Red Mimic Blennies produced by ORA in Ft. Pierce, Florida.

New Captive-Bred “Holy Grail” Reef Fish Now Commercially Available
Excerpt from CORAL, Rarities, March/April 2014

Oceans, Reefs & Aquariums in Fort Pierce, Florida, is continuing its parade of unexpected and never-before-seen captive-bred species with the introduction of two new fishes early in 2014: first the Jaguar Goby and in its wake, the Red Sea Mimic Blenny.

In an accomplishment that that has surprised even veteran marine livestock-trade observers, ORA announced the debut of its captive-bred Red Sea Mimic Blenny (Ecsenius gravieri).

ORA’s Dustin Dorton said, “Despite their popularity as entertaining little algae eaters, it appears that no species of Ecsenius blenny has ever been captively bred until now. There are many popular Ecsenius species in the trade, such as the Bicolor Blenny (E. bicolor), the Tailspot Blenny (E. stigmatura), and the beautiful Midas Blenny (E. midas). We started with one many people have probably never seen before.

“Red Sea Mimic Blennies are extremely rare in the hobby, so rare that they are considered a ‘Holy Grail’ species by some. We suspect there are several reasons for their rarity. Fish collection in the Red Sea is rather limited and collection stations seem to come and go pretty quickly. Most important, these fish are near-perfect mimics of the Black Lined Fang Blenny (Meiacanthus nigrolineatus), which we suspect are more plentiful or easier to catch.

“Imports of the Mimic Blenny tend to be accidental when they are mixed up with the Fang Blenny. For example, a recent shipment of 26 Mimic Blennies to Los Angeles yielded 23 Fang Blennies and only 3 Mimics. We know of another shipment back in 2009 in which 30 Mimics were ordered and 30 Fangs were received!”

Dorton says that ORA has had previous success getting Escenius spp. blennies to spawn, but has encountered barriers to raising the larvae: “Once you have a compatible pair, they typically spawn every few days and will tend a large nest comprised of multiple batches of eggs.” Following the breakthrough with the Red Sea Mimic Blenny, ORA is quietly working on other species in the genus Escenius.

—Both this species and the new captive-bred Jaguar Goby are available now in limited quantities.
Oceans, Reefs & Aquariums
ORA, Fort Pierce, FL

Read more about them on the ORA Blog.

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