The Anthias Fish; The Queen Of The Red Sea

The Anthias Fish; The Queen Of The Red Sea



The grouper, the soapfish and the diurnal anthias fish have been affectionately labelled as the ‘Queens of the Red Sea’. They are part of the ‘royal’ family of the Serranidae. Within this family, the tropical anthias, or the fairy basslet, has been assigned to the family of Anthiinae.


It’s a common and typical reef fish, their bodies regular shaped and oval. They are planktivores and circulate in large school formations. A planktivore feeds on floating organic particles and planktonic food, including protozoa, algae and zooplankton. The males are spectacular in colouration, shades deviating from plum, violet and scarlet to fuchsia. The ladies tend to orange in the range of light salmon to orange red. The basslet lives in isolated groups near coral formations and is relatively small in size. Women’s lib hasn’t yet reached the ranks of the Anthiinae family. Although females spectacularly outnumber males, the latter take charge of groups of the ladies in harems with dedicated fashion.


Family Members


Jewel Fairy Basslet/Lyretail Anthias

Size up to 15 cm (0,5 ft). Depth up to 35m (115ft)

This diurnal anthias saltwater fish is also billed as the sea goldie, the lyretail coralfish, the lyretail anthias or the scalefin anthias. Whatever the moniker, this basslet is the common of these species in the Red Sea. It has an appetite for plankton, male or female and forages in small groups in coral dominated forests. The colour of the regular and oval body is orangish with an attractive yellow hue.


Red Sea Fairy Basslet


Size up to 13 cm (0,42ft). Depth up to 40m (42,6 ft)

Reefs slopes with an abundance of coral growth are highly favoured by this fairy basslet, congregating in enormous schools. The oval and regular body of the 13 cm long Red Sea fairy basslet shows a characteristic lateral white to pinkish stripe on a crimson red body. This endemic species has a territorial tendency and very selective when it comes to food. It feeds on zooplankton only. To keep the harem fashion alive, the most dominant female transform into a male version. Speaking of fairies...


Red-Stripe Fairy Basslet


Size up to  11 cm (0,36ft). Depth up to 60m (197ft)

The red-striped fairy basslet has found comfort at depths between 50m and 60m, extremely tiny as it is with its streamlined body in fascinating yellow with a red stripe on females, flirting with tangerine. Here also the male tenderly tends to a harem structure. It has a feather light forked fin and regular fins. It solely eats zooplankton.


Other Family Members

Heemstra’s Fairy Basslet

Yellow-eye Fairy Basslet