First, let’s consider where butterfly koi originated. In the early 80s, a population of common, brown and grey carp with long fins were found in a series of canals and ditches in Indonesia. A company in New York took an interest and brought the fish into the U.S. and sold some. They did not sell well because they were ugly. However, an enterprising and curious group of breeders at Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery placed an order for a dozen of these fish to see what the heck they were. Ugly, with long fins, is what they discovered. Over the next several years they bred these large, long finned mutations with their finest regular-fin koi and made several discoveries.
- Long-fin genes are dominant, so breeding the fish back to color would not breed out the long fin gene.
- Long-fin koi are robust and disease resistant.
- The fish could be bred back to color and many colorful lines of long-fin koi have been created at Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery.
The original breeder at Blue Ridge Fish Hatchery who spearheaded the cultivation of long-fin koi was a man named Wyatt LeFever. His son Randy made his way to the tanks to see the fish. As he regarded the fish with interest, he observed, “Dad, they look like Butterflies!” The name stuck.