There’s no need to look beyond the scales of this fish to understand why it’s called the harlequin tuskfish (Choerodon fasciatus). Like a character in a traditional pantomime, this fish is cloaked in an array of flamboyant colours. It’s precisely this razzle dazzle that inspired Sania T., customer service ambassador at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, to nominate October’s Staff Pick of the Month winner. Sania says, “This fish always makes me smile with its radiant colours.”
According to Sania, visitors tend to confuse the harlequin tuskfish with the better known clown anemonefish because they both have orange stripes. But look at a harlequin tuskfish’s mouth to see a major difference between the two fishes — it has protruding, blue teeth! They are sharp, allowing the harlequin tuskfish to grasp and tear hard prey such as little crabs.
Sania says the harlequin tuskfish doesn’t get the attention it deserves because not many visitors know to look for it, so go give it some love in the Canaccord Financial Exploration Gallery.
Written by Karen Glanzberg, writer-editor, content and digital experience at the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre.