Deep water klipfish at Star Walls.

A specimen from False Bay.

A specimen from False Bay.

A specimen from False Bay. All photos Guido Zsilavecz
Deep water klipfish (Pavoclinus profundus) at Star Walls
This species was described in 1986, from a collection off the Knysna Heads. During collection dives by researchers from the University of Cape Town it was also found, but for divers it has been rather elusive. The reason is that this is a very shy fish, which keeps well-hidden within its favourite hiding area, multicoloured seafans (Acabaria rubra) - that pretty yellow, red and orange tangle found on deeper reefs further offshore. Up to now this klipfish has only been found in the warmer waters of False Bay (and ocurring further east), but never in the Atlantic (or rather, what Cape Town divers call the "Atlantic side" - west of Cape Point.) It was thus with much delight that SURG member Guido Zsilavecz spotted it at Star Walls. He has been searching for this species, in order to try and find out how to improve the chance of sighting it, so is usually on the lookout for it. Finding it in the Atlantic is of significance, as many klipfish species do not round the Cape, due to the cold upwelling making that side biologically somewhat different from the warmer waters further east.

The species is best identified though that large ocellate spot on the side of its head, on the gill cover.
References:
Smiths' Sea Fishes, MM Smith and PC Heemstra, 1986
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