Hoplolatilus chlupatyi… misidentified in many cases?

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People who have owned H. chlupatyi have said how theirs goes a dull grey colour and almost never flash even when not stressed. Did yours ever look like a regular Hoplolatilus chlupatyi? Is finding a true chlupatyi rarer than it seems.
Yes, I’ve read about these animals being quite possibly harder than a Moorish Idol or Achilles Tang to own. But this has not been my experience. I have a true H. chlupatyi who flashes constantly even when not stressed. I have also had mine thrive and eat a ton in my tank.

But enough about my H. chlupatyi, how about yours? Did yours ever go a dull grey? Never flash? I’ve seen two tilefish misidentified as Hoplolatilus chlupatyi. Now then, what are those species and how can we differentiate them from eachother?

1. H. cuniculus
2. H. starcki

Now, what are the differences between H. chlupatyi and these species? Let’s start with H. chlupatyi against H. cuniculus.

I have found two cases where H. cuniculus is labelled as H. chlupatyi, here is one of them.
“Hoplolatilus Chlupatyi”
The photo used to show this species is this:
A60921D0-73B7-49D8-BD07-0155C63798A4.jpeg

Hoplolatilus cuniculus. Now, maybe you’re wondering how I know, well, for one there is no lines on the head. H. chlupatyi has an obvious yellow line right through the eye which isn’t seen in the photo but also Chlupatyi has a few yellow lines below it’s gill plate. None of these signs are shown on the fish in the picture. Another clear sign is an obvious Teal colour on its body with a white belly. The fish seen is grey with a bluish head.

Here’s the second time I have seen this fish mistakenly identified as H. chlupatyi.
“Hoplolatilus chlupatyi”
Blue Zoo shows this species as a Hoplolatilus chlupatyi.
166E5F3F-CCEC-44F1-B1DF-21CF755772D9.jpeg

Let’s start with the first clear sign, the tail is way too dark for it to be a H. chlupatyi. The body is a dull grey colour too. Now, in this specimen there is a line through the eye however there is no yellow squiggles. And the eye line’s colour is black and not yellow.

Let’s compare this to my H. Chlupatyi:
D34FEA54-F61C-4614-9724-EDD1F3D6A05A.jpeg

My specimen is kept under blue lights, this is most likely making him look a nice blue shade. In my LFS he was a grey, I thought he was similar to H. starcki but with no blue face. The first thing you may spot is the eye stripe being yellow. Now this eye line isn’t always obvious if the fish has been under heavy white lights as the main body will look grey and the yellow may not show quite as well which is why you need to watch this animal closely to see what it’s visual appearance is. Also if hit at the right angle as you can see their fins are a yellow, however the fish will have to be at the right angle for it to show if they’re that drab grey colour.

Now, let’s look at H. starcki. I accidentally confused these two when I first saw it. I still wanted it however passed for weeks. Only when it flashed I saw what it was and reserved it for the next week.

Here’s a photo of a pair of H. starcki I got back in 2020 when I was working in my LFS to help out.
FEF77933-7827-4EB3-8838-3E44B59D582E.jpeg


Now, these guys have an eye stripe and the tail. They were also rather drab. Their eye stripe is black, their tails are the nice yellow that is seen on Chlupatyi too. The biggest difference between them is how much blue they have, H. chlupatyi under blue lights will have a ton of blue on it (It’s whole body will be blue). If under whites then it will have very little or no blue on it. These guys will always have the nice blue face on them though.

Now let’s compare it to a photo of my tilefish when he was in the LFS and under whites:
58232B9C-D8CD-45E8-A557-7C5E86F74151.jpeg

The yellow fins weren’t there at all and his body was grey/faint blues. The biggest difference in this colour is as you can see, their eyes. When it comes to H. chlupatyi, ALWAYS look at the head, the other differences such as the tail may not be there. When he was grey his tail wasn’t a nice yellow like it is now, it was a brownish colour.

i know recently I have been doing a lot of “differentiation” type threads but I hope they help someone trying to find the right fish. Also may stop some of those threads about this fish not flashing or going full in captivity.
 
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i cant think

i cant think

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Thank you, I truly believe finding a true chlupatyi is extremely hard due to the LFS misidentifying them. I wish I had both Cuniculus and Starcki to show the differences in colour under blue lights but I guess I’ll stick with what I’ve got for now.
 
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