ANIMAL: Mandarin Dragonet/Mandarinfish Synchiropus splendidus Type of Animal: Dragonet Habitat: Reefs, coral areas, lagoons, broken coral rubble beds, under dead coral, reef crests, ocean rubble beds, open ocean (for spawning), found at depths of 3-59.06 ft in warm water Location(s): Indo-Pacific from Ryukyu Islands to Australia Appearance: Vividly-colored broad-headed elongated fish w/ large pelvic fins, males have taller dorsal fins-3 main color variations occur-green form has bright blue background, swirly orange stripes, blue-greenish face w/ bold blue stripes, striking orange-blue dorsal fin, red form has red stripes & red-blue on dorsal fin (sometimes red w/ black stripes), spotted form light gray-green w/ black/pink/blue spots Food/Diet: Copepods, amphipods, isopods, small snails, worms, fish eggs, brine shrimp, mysis shrimp, protozoans, fish poop, detritus, benthic algae Status in Wild: Stable Conservation: Breeding in aquaculture & aquariums. Captive breeding reducing demand for wild-caught fish. Lifestyle: Solitary or small harems of a male w/ 1-4 females Additional Info: Called: Male Female Young: Fry Group: School Gestation: 12 hours Life Span: 10-15 years in wild, 4-5 years in captivity Body Length: Male: 2.9-3 in Female: 2.7 in Only predators are scorpionfish & lionfish since they’re not deterred by foul taste of this fish nor bright coloration warning potential predators. This fish has smelly foul-tasting toxic mucus to deter potential predators. While stable, popularity in aquarium trade is a potential threat. Males extremely territorial, often fighting to the death. Also called Mandarin, Green Mandarin, Green Mandarinfish, Red Mandarin, Red Mandarinfish, Striped Mandarinfish, Green Dragonet, Striped Dragonet, Psychedelic Mandarinfish, Mandarin Goby, Green Mandarin Goby, & Red Mandarin Goby among others. Popular in aquarium trade due to its beauty. Clutch size ranges from 12-205. When eggs hatch, they’re free-swimming larvae, becoming juveniles at 12-14 days old. Maturity reached as early as 2 months old. Spawning occurs at night. These fish breed year-round. These fish are very shy in the wild. Fun Fact(s): In some Asian countries, these fish utilized as food. Gets name from coloration resembling robes of Imperial Chinese scholars (mandarins). These fish are rather difficult to keep in captivity & live much shorter lifespans in captivity than in wild. 1 of only 2 vertebrate species (other being closely Picturesque Dragonet/Psychedelic Mandarinfish/Spotted Mandarinfish) to have blue coloration due to cellular pigment.