Butterflyfish - Chaetodontidae
BUTTERFLYFISH - CHAETODONTIDAE These popularly known reef fish are well adapted to live on a coral reef. Their narrow but high disc-shaped body allows them to swim through very narrow cracks and coral branches. Butterflyfish have a long snout with a small mouth which they use to feed on coral polyps, small crustaceans, worms, fish eggs and algae. The Chaetodontidae family mainly use their pectoral fins to swim long distances. Some species are territorial and live on a certain patch of reef which they protect against family members. Some species maintain lifetime relationships and always swim together with their partners. Other family members live in big schools. Mating occurs during sunset when the couple swim to the surface. The male pushes a few times against the females belly until the eggs come out and drift away with the current. After a few months the larvae will seek shelter somewhere on a reef and start their life as a juvenile butterflyfish. Many juvenile butterflyfish have a big ocellus on their back to mislead predators. Length: 23 cm. Distribution: Red Sea to Fr. Polynesia, S- Japan, Lord Howe and Galapagos Is. (rare). Not shy, mostly in pairs. Reef flats, lagoons and seaward reefs to -30 m. in areas of mixed sand and coral rubble. Feeds on anemones, coral polyps and algae. Normally this species has a black ocellus on the soft dorsal fin, except the species of the Red Sea (photo below). Length: 14 cm. Distribution: From Malaysia to Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Palau. Similar to C. mellanotus, but with black spot on center of each side of tail base. Swims solitary or in pairs in lagoons and on seaward reefs in areas of rich coral growth, from 3 to -15 m. Feeds primarily on coral polyps. Length: 18 cm. Distribution: Endemic in the Red Sea. First black band reaches the eye, more yellow than others of the species. Juveniles in group, adults usually solitary or in pair. Lagoons and sheltered coral reefs, to -50 m. Feeds on zooplankton and benthic invertebrates. Length: 18 cm. Distribution: Christmas Is., Bali to French Polynesia, S- Japan and New Caledonia. Very easy to distinguish with it’s one of a kind pattern, white pyramid shape on yellow base and brown head. In large aggregations along the upper edges of dropoffs, from 3 to -40 m. Common. Length: 18 cm. Distribution: S- China Sea to SW- Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, New Guinea, Fiji, NW- & E-Australia. Silvery-white with 5 dark brown vertical bars, black spot on 4th bar. Ocellated bar or spot on tail base. Solitary or in pairs, on sand flats or silty bottoms of coastal reefs, from -5 to -40 m. Length: 16 cm. Distribution: From Indonesia to Taiwan, SW- Japan and North-West Australia. Juveniles show an ocellus in dorsal fin. Black eye patch and dot on forehead. Swims in pairs and feeds primarily on anemones, coral polyps, polychaetes, and algae. Coral rich lagoons and seaward reefs with clear water and many soft corals, from -1 to -25 m. Length: 22 cm. Distribution: E- Africa to French Polynesia, Bonin Is. and New Caledonia. Similar to F. flavissimus but longer snout. Yellow body with black upper head, silvery white breast, cheeks and snout. Black spot underneath tail base. Lives solitary or in pairs among coral rich seaward reefs, from 2 to -114 m. Feeds on small crustaceans. Length: 25 cm. Distribution: From E- Africa to French Polynesia, S- Japan and Lord Howe. Similar to H. diphreutes but have a longer snout, second black band ends behind tip of anal fin. Adults solitair or in pair in deep lagoons or on seaward reefs, usually deeper than -15 m. Feeds primarily on zooplankton, occasionally on benthic inverte- brates. Juveniles sometimes pick parasites from other fish. Length: 23 cm. Distribution: from the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden. Yellow body with big blue spot on and behind the eye, light red vertical lines on body. Swims in pairs or group, feeds primarily on anemones, coral polyps, polychaetes, and algae. Coral rich lagoons and seaward reefs with clear water, from 3 to -20 m. Very common. Length: 19 cm. Distribution: from Malaysia to Samoa, S- Japan and New Caledonia. No white band between pelvic and anal fin. Adults with horn and knob on forehead. Solitary or in group, At coral-rich areas of lagoon and seaward reefs, from 2 to -20 m. Feeds on corals and other invertebrates. Length: 23 cm. Distribution: Maldives to S.W- Japan, Micronesia, Samoa and N.W & E-Australia. Dark-edged scales, black anal and pelvic fins. Broad white bar behind eyes, black bump on forehead. Yellow pectoral, 2th dorsal- an tail fin. Pectoral fin with long white filament in the front. Solitary or in pairs, in lagoons, outer reefs and shipwrecks. From -2 to -250 m. Length: 18 cm. Distribution: R. Sea, E- Africa to S- Japan, Hawaii, Kermadec Is., NW- and E- Australia. White body with two broad black bands. Elongate dorsal fin filament, yellow pectoral, second dorsal and tail fin. Similar to H. acuminatus who has a longer snout with small black patch. Feeds primarily on zooplankton. Solitary or in group, juveniles form large aggregations. On seaward reefs, from -5 to -21 m. Length: 18 cm. Distribution: W- India to SW- Japan, Fiji, French Polynesia and Northern Australia. White body with 2 brown diogonal bands, 1 going over the eyes. Yellow upper snout with brown line on top. Solitary or in pairs, in coral-rich areas of lagoons and seaward reefs from -3 to -45 m. Feeds on coral polyps. Length: 18 cm. Distribution: Gulf of Oman to Maldives, Christmas Is, and from Bali to S- Philippines. Not shy and territorial. Bright white vertical band behind the eyes and red tail fin. In pairs or form large aggregations. Juveniles in estuaries. Feeds primarily on coral polyps. Reef edge or upper slope of rocky or coral rich areas in lagoons and sheltered reefs, from -3 to -15 m. Length: 22 cm. Distribution: Red Sea to Panama, S- Japan and Lord Howe. Similar to F. longirostris but shorter snout. Solitary or in small groups near ledges and caves at exposed seaward reefs from 2 to 100 m, occasionally on lagoon reefs. Feeds on bentic invertebrates. Length: 13 cm. Distribution: Endemic in the Red Sea. Black anus and tailfin, white back and pale blue stripe in front of tailfin. Swims long distances and in pairs. Feeds on coral polyps and bentic invertebrates. Prefers coral rich seaward reefs, from 0,5 to 20 m. Length: 15 cm. Distribution: Cocos-Keeling Is. & Indonesia to Fiji, S- Japan and New Caledonia. Similar to C. triangulum but finer black band on tailfin. Only found on places where there are tabular Acropora corals. Lagoon and seaward reefs, in pairs and territorial. Feeds exclusively on Acropora coral polyps. Length: 16 cm. Distribution: From Indonesia to New Guinea and S- Japan. Solitair or in pairs, from murky waters to coral rich seaward reefs from 8 to -50 m. Primarily on rubble slopes below 20 m. Length: 15 cm. Distribution: from Bali to Philippines and Papua New Guinea. White body with two broad vertical brown bars, and orange-edged grey bar on rear body. Ocellus on soft dorsal and anus fin, brown band on head. Solitary or in pairs. In coastal lagoons and on seaward reefs between -12 and -30 m. Mostly along dropoffs, close to sponges, on which they feed. Length: 15 cm. Distribution: from the Andaman Sea to SW- Japan, Solomon Is. and S. & E. Australia. Silvery-white body with dark brown band over the eyes. Two orange-brown bands above black pelvic fins and one orange band on rear body. One occelated spot on dorsal fin, black spot on tail base and small black spot on the front tip of dorsal fin. Feeds on sponges. On coastal reefs with rich or poor coral growth, from -3 to -60 m. Length: 20 cm. Distribution: Andaman Sea to Papua New Guinea, Ryukyus and Great Barrier Reef. A common reef fish, solitairy or in pairs. Five wide orange vertical lines and black bar on tailbase. Ocellus on dorsal fin. In estuaries, coastal reefs and silty inner reefs, from 1 to -25 m. Length: 18 cm. Distribution: from the Red Sea to French Polynesia, S- Japan and Lord Howe. Similar to C. auriga(does not have the black bars in front and on tail). A few yellow to orange horizontal lines on snout and forehead. Swims in pairs and feeds primarily on anemones, coral polyps, polychaetes, and algae. On reef flats, lagoons and seaward reefs down to -30 m. Length: 20 cm. Distribution: Indonesia to SW- Japan, Hawaii, French Polynesia, NW- and E- Australia. White body with yellow back, anal and pelvic fins. Black teardrop-shaped spot on back, black bar on face and black-white margin on rear dorsal and anal fin. Feeds on hard and soft corals, other invertebrates and algae. In lagoons and on seaward reefs, from -10 to -60 m. Length: 15 cm. Distribution: Malaysian Peninsula to Cocos-Keeling Is, S.W- Japan, Micronesia, Hawaii, Fr. Polynesia and E-Australia. White front and mid-body, yellow rear . Black spot on tailbase, two large black saddles on back. Black band on head. Feeds on algae and coral polyps. Solitary, in pairs or in small groups. Coral-rich reefs and lagoons, from -2 to -30 m. Length: 18 cm. Distribution: Red Sea, E- Africa to SW- Japan, Hawaii, Fr. Polynesia, N.W.&E- Australia. White with narrow chevron pattern on sides. Pale-edged black bar on head, black tail fin with yellow band. Dorsal and anal fin yellow-orange with a pale blue-margin. Solitary or in pairs, very territorial, feeds on coral polyps. On rich coral reefs, among coral tables. Shallow waters of lagoons and seaward reefs, from -2 to -30 m. Length: 18 cm. Distribution: Andaman Sea and Christmas Is. to Tonga, S- Japan and Lord Howe. The oval spot has almost the same size as the tail. Solitary and uncommon. Feeds on coral polyps and invertebrates. Length: 18 cm. Distribution: Sri Lanka & Andaman Sea to S.W- Japan, Fr. Polynesia and GBR. Yellow with orange-brown net-pattern on sides, blue-ish forehead. Black bar across the eyes, and in dorsal- and tail fin. Juveniles look almost the same as the adults. Feeds on coral and anemone polyps. Lives on coral-rich reef flats, lagoons and protected seaward reefs to -15 m. Length: 12 cm. Distribution: from Sumatra to Taiwan, Philippines, Line Is. and Northern Australia. Yellow body colour, yellow to orange eye bar and black spot on fore head. Grey to black spots on sides and belly, 7 dark vertical bars on upper body. Among areas with rich coral growth. Lagoons and outer reefs, from -1 to -45 m. Feeds on bentic invertebrates, coral polyps and algae. Length: 12 cm. Distribution: from the Maldives to the Solomon Is, Ryukyus, Andaman Sea and GBR. Ground colour goes from cream to yellow, adults swim in pairs. Prefers coral-rich sheltered lagoons and inshore reefs, from -3 to -25 m. Feeds exclusively on coral polyps. Length: 15 cm. Distribution: Malaysian Peninsula to S.W- Japan, Hawaii, Fr. Polynesia, WNE-Australia. Similar to C. trifasciatus but no red tail base. Yellow body with purplish horizontal stripes on sides. Black snout, forehead and band on head, yellow-edged black area on anal fin, black blotch above tail base. Feeds on coral polyps. Solitary or in pairs, coral-rich lagoons and coastal reefs, from -3 to -20 m. Length: 14 cm. Distribution: from E- Africa to Samoa, S- Japan, Hawaii, Natal, New South Wales. Blueish forehead, dark eye bar. Dark brown vertical bar on sides, yellow rear body with light blue margin on anal and dorsal fin. Found in plankton-rich waters, lagoon and on seaward reefs from -3 to -60 m. Feeds on zooplankton and softcoral polyps. Length: 20 cm. Distribution: Oman to Andaman Sea, W- Malaysia and E- Timor (S- Indonesia). White with a yellow tone, chevron pattern with narrow lines on sides. Black bar on head and tail fin, black band over rear body, tail base and rear dorsal fin. On rich coral reefs, rock or rubble, from -1 to -30 m. Solitary or in pairs, feeds on algae and coral polyps. Length: 13 cm. Distribution: E- Africa to S.W- Japan, Hawaii, Marquesas Is. and N.W. & E- Australia. Pale yellow with white belly, numerous grey-blue spots on sides. Pale-edged black bar over head, and black margin on anal fin. Usually in pairs, but often solitary. Juveniles form small groups and often mix with other juveniles of their family. Shallow waters of lagoons, exposed reef flats and seaward reefs.
Butterflyfish info

Butterflyfish info

Chaetodon adiergastos - Panda butterflyfish

Chaetodon adiergastos - Panda butterflyfish

Chaetodon lunula - Raccoon butterflyfish

Chaetodon lunula - Raccoon butterflyfish

Chaetodon trifascialis - Chevroned butterflyfish

Chaetodon trifascialis - Chevroned butterflyfish

Chaetodon selene - Dotted butterflyfish

Chaetodon selene - Dotted butterflyfish

Chaetodon auriga - Threadfin butterflyfish

Chaetodon auriga - Threadfin butterflyfish

Chaetodon vagabundus - Vagabond butterflyfish

Chaetodon vagabundus - Vagabond butterflyfish

Chaetodon lineolatus - Lined butterflyfish

Chaetodon lineolatus - Lined butterflyfish

Chaetodon decussatus - Indian vagabond butterflyfish

Chaetodon decussatus - Indian vagabond butterflyfish

Chaetodon ocellicaudus - Spot tail butterflyfish

Chaetodon ocellicaudus - Spot tail butterflyfish

Chaetodon collare - White collar butterflyfish

Chaetodon collare - White collar butterflyfish

Chaetodon meyeri - Sraweled butterflyfish

Chaetodon meyeri - Sraweled butterflyfish

Chaetodon citrinellus - Speckled butterflyfish

Chaetodon citrinellus - Speckled butterflyfish

Chaetodon guttatissimus - Peppered butterflyfish

Chaetodon guttatissimus - Peppered butterflyfish

Chaetodon ephippium - Saddle butterflyfish

Chaetodon ephippium - Saddle butterflyfish

Chaetodon-xanthocephalus - Yellowhead butterflyfish

Chaetodon-xanthocephalus - Yellowhead butterflyfish

Chaetodon rafflesi - Latticed butterflyfish

Chaetodon rafflesi - Latticed butterflyfish

Chaetodon benetti - Bennet's butterflyfish

Chaetodon benetti - Bennet's butterflyfish

Chaetodon speculum - Ovalspot butterflyfish

Chaetodon speculum - Ovalspot butterflyfish

Chaetodon semilarvatus - Lemon butterflyfish

Chaetodon semilarvatus - Lemon butterflyfish

Chaetodon ulietensis - Pacific double-saddle butterflyfish

Chaetodon ulietensis - Pacific double-saddle butterflyfish

Chaetodon falcula - Blackwedged butterflyfish

Chaetodon falcula - Blackwedged butterflyfish

Chaetodon punctatofasciatus - Spot banded butterflyfish

Chaetodon punctatofasciatus - Spot banded butterflyfish

Chaetodon paucifasciatus - Crown butterflyfish

Chaetodon paucifasciatus - Crown butterflyfish

Chaetodon mertensii - Atoll butterflyfish

Chaetodon mertensii - Atoll butterflyfish

Chaetodon austriacus - Exquisit butterflyfish

Chaetodon austriacus - Exquisit butterflyfish

Chaetodon lunulatus - Oval-redfin butterflyfish

Chaetodon lunulatus - Oval-redfin butterflyfish

Chaetodon baronessa - Triangular butterflyfish

Chaetodon baronessa - Triangular butterflyfish

Chaetodon octofasciatus - Eightband butterflyfish

Chaetodon octofasciatus - Eightband butterflyfish

Chaetodon kleinii - Klein's butterflyfish

Chaetodon kleinii - Klein's butterflyfish

Hemitaurichthys polylepis - Pyramid butterflyfish

Hemitaurichthys polylepis - Pyramid butterflyfish

Hemitaurichthys zoster - Brown and white butterflyfish

Hemitaurichthys zoster - Brown and white butterflyfish

Parachaetodon ocellatus - Sixspine butterflyfish

Parachaetodon ocellatus - Sixspine butterflyfish

Forcipiger longirostris - Longnose butterflyfish

Forcipiger longirostris - Longnose butterflyfish

Forcipiger flavissimus - Longnose butterflyfish

Forcipiger flavissimus - Longnose butterflyfish

Chelmon rostra - Beaked coralfish

Chelmon rostra - Beaked coralfish

Coradion melanopus - Two-eyed coralfish

Coradion melanopus - Two-eyed coralfish

Coradion chrysozonus - Orange banded coralfish

Coradion chrysozonus - Orange banded coralfish

Heniochus acuminatus - Longfin bannerfish

Heniochus acuminatus - Longfin bannerfish

Heniochus diphreutes - Schooling bannerfish

Heniochus diphreutes - Schooling bannerfish

Heniochus intermedius - Red Sea bannerfish

Heniochus intermedius - Red Sea bannerfish

Heniochus chrysostomus - Pennant bannerfish

Heniochus chrysostomus - Pennant bannerfish

Heniochus varius - Humphead bannerfish

Heniochus varius - Humphead bannerfish

Heniochus pleurotaenia - Phantom bannerfish

Heniochus pleurotaenia - Phantom bannerfish

Heniochus singularis - Singular bannerfish

Heniochus singularis - Singular bannerfish