81 photos 46 species


Introduction


There are 12 genera and around 130 species.

They can be found everywhere on the reef.

The most conspicuous of them are probably the tube-mouth tweezer fish, which can take tiny prey out of the crevices in the coral with their huge tube mouths. 

Many of the butterflyfish have a black line running through the eye and a black spot on the tail that looks like a false eye. 

Most reach a size between 12 - 22 cm, but the giant butterflyfish reaches up to 30 cm.


Chaetodon adiergastos

Philippine butterflyfish, Bantayan butterflyfish or Panda butterflyfish

Maximum length: 10 cm

Depth: 2 - 30 m

Found on the coastal reef tops and reef slopes.

Mostly in pairs but also in small groups.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Chaetodon auriga

Treadfin butterflyfish

Maximum length: 20 cm

Depth: 1 - 10 m

It has a high-backed, laterally flattened body.

Prey: Bristle worms, algae, small crustaceans, snails and polyps of stony and soft corals.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North - Sulawesi

Photo 2 Astrid: Hurghada Egypt


Chaetodon austriacus

Blacktail butterflyfish, Black-tailed butterflxfish or

Exquisite butterflyfish

Maximum length: 14 cm

Depth: 0.5 - 20 m

Black tail and anal fin.

Usually in pairs in a home range.

Diet: Coral polyps and tentacles of anemones.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: El Qesir Egypt


Chaetodon baronessa

Eastern triangle butterflyfish or Baroness butterflyfish

Maximum length: 60 cm

Depth: 3 - 15 m

Adults in pairs or singly on slopes with Acropora corals, which are their main food source.

Photos 1 - 2 Astrid: Moalboal Philippines


Chaetodon bennetti

Bluelashed butterflyfish, Eclipse butterflyfish, Archer Butterflyfish or Bennett's butterflyfish

Maximum length: 18 cm

Depth: 15 - 30 m

They live on coastal reefs that are rich in black coral and cnidarians.

Mostly found in pairs at depths below 20 meters.

Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives


Chaetodon capistratus

Foureye butterflyfish or Four-eyed butterflyfish

Maximum length: 15 cm

Depth: 3 - 20 m

Black spot with white border at the front of the tail root.

Silvery-grey with numerous silvery black lines running diagonally from the center to the back.

They have a black blindfold.

They are usually seen in pairs ( photo 1 ) on reef tops.

They are not shy and will even approach divers if they are very calm.

Photos 1 - 3 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Photo 4 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean


Chaetodon collare

Red-tailed butterflyfish, Brown butterflyfish, Pakistani butterflyfish or Redtail butterflyfish

Maximum length: 16 cm

Depth: 1 - 20 m

Travel in pairs, rarely seen in groups of up to 25 animals.

Don't be shy, you can get quite close to them.

Photo 1 Johnny: El Quesir Egypt


Chaetodon ephippium

Saddle butterflyfish

Maximum length: 23 cm

Depth: 1 - 30 m

Found in sheltered areas near the coast in murky water.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi


Chaetodon falcula

Blackwedged butterfyfish or Falcula butterflyfish

Maximum length: 20 cm

Depth: 1 - 15 m

This butterflyfish usually swims in pairs, more rarely in loose groups of up to 20 animals.

With its long snout, it can also reach hidden coral polyps.

Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives


Chaetodon fasciatus

Diagonal butterflyfish or Red sea raccoon butterflyfish

Maximum length: 22 cm

Depth: 2 - 25 m

Orange - yellow body with black diagonal stripes and white headband.

Feeds on algae, tiny invertebrates and coral polyps.

Photos 1 - 3 Johnny: El Qesir Egypt


Chaetodon kleinii

Sunburst butterflyfish, Black-lipped butterflyfish,

Blacklip butterflyfish or Klein's butterflyfish 

Maximum length: 11 cm

Depth: 2 - 30 m

Usually lives singly or in pairs.

Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives


Chaetodon larvatus

Hooded butterflyfish or Orangeface butterflyfish

Maximum length: 12 cm

Depth: 4 - 30 m

Gray body with yellow horizontal lines and rust-red head.

Roam the reef in pairs, occupy a home territory.

Not shy, rare immigrant in Egypt.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt


Chaetodon lineolatus

Lined butterflyfish

Maximum length: 30 cm

Depth: 2 - + 50 m (has already been sighted at a depth of 170 m)

Curved black band that extends from the middle of the back to the base of the anal fin.

It is the largest butterflyfish.

Single or in pairs, occupies large home territories.

Photo 1 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Chaetodon lunula

Raccoon butterflyfish, Crescent-masked butterflyfish,

Lunule butterflyfish, Halfmoon butterflyfish, Moon butterflyfish, Raccoon, Raccoon coralfish or Redstriped butterflyfis

Maximum length: 18 cm

Depth: 3 - 30 m

These fish live individually, but also in pairs or in small groups of up to 20 animals.

Nocturnal, they feed on invertebrates such as nudibranchs, the gills of tubeworms and algae.

Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives


Chaetodon madagaskariensis

Seychelles butterflyfish

Maximum length: 14 cm

Depth: 3 - 35 m

Angular pattern with black forehead spot outlined in white.

Mostly traveling in pairs, feeding on bottom invertebrates and algae.

Photo 1 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Chaetodon melannotus

Black-backed butterflyfish or Blackback butterflyfish

Juvenile
Juvenile

Maximum length: 15 cm

Depth: 0.3 - 20 m

Very similar to the tailspot butterflyfish (see a few photos below), but here the tailspot blends in with the black dorsal area.

Black back and black diagonal stripes.

At home in lagoons, bays, outer reefs and coral-rich reef tops.

Feeds on polyps of stony and soft corals.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt


Chaetodon meyeri

Scrawled butterflyfish, Meyer's butterflyfish or Maypole butterflyfish

Maximum length: 16 cm

Depth: 3 - 25 m

Swimming singly or in pairs.

Often observed in staghorn corals.

Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives


Chaetodon ocellatus

Spotfin butterflyfish

Maximum length: 20 cm

Depth: 3 - 20 m

All bright yellow except the pectoral fins.

There is a black spot on the outer corner of the dorsal fin.

Otherwise silvery-white, with a black blindfold.

Usually found in pairs.

Not shy, tends to ignore divers, but swims away when approached.

Photo 1 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean

Photo 2 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean


Chaetodon ocellicaudus

Spot-tail butterflyfish

Maximum length: 14 cm

Depth: 3 - 50 m

Very similar to the blackback butterflyfish (see some photos above),

but has a distinct black spot on the tail.

Photo 1 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Chaetodon octofasciatus

Eight-banded butterflyfish, Eightband butterflyfish or

Eight-striped butterflyfish

Maximum length: 12 cm

Depth: 3 - 20 m

In protected coastal areas with turbid water.

They use corals as food.

There is a yellow and a silver color form.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi

Photo 2 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Chaetodon ornatissimus

Ornate butterflyfish or Clown butterflyfish

Maximum length: 20 cm

Depth: 1 - 40 m

Almost always in pairs over the reef tops near drop - offs.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi

Photo 2 Astrid: Moalboal Philippines


Chaetodon paucifasciatus

Eritrean butterflyfish or Crown butterflyfish

Maximum length: 14 cm

Depth: 1 - 30 m

White body with dark angular stripes and red hind body.

They are found in outer reefs, lagoons, bays and on coral-rich reef tops.

They like to feed on hard and soft corals, algae and invertebrates.

Photo 1 Astrid: Hurghada Egypt

Photos 2 + 3 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt


Chaetodon punctatofasciatus

Spot-banded butterflyfish or Spotband butterflyfish

Maximum length: 10 cm

Depth: 6 - 45 m

Mostly found in pairs along steep drop-offs.

Almost vertical bands.

Shy, eats invertebrates.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi

Photo 2 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi


Chaetodon rafflesii

Latticed butterflyfish or Raffles' coralfish

Maximum length: 15 cm

Depth: 2 - 15 m

Yellow body with a net pattern of gray lines, blue-black forehead.

Not common, sometimes single, often roaming the reef in pairs.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Chaetodon semilarvatus

Blue-cheeked butterflyfish

Maximum length: 23 cm

Depth: 3 - 20 m

Yellow body, orange horizontal stripes and a dark blue eye mask.

Often found in pairs or small groups under overhangs or coral heads.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt


Chaetodon speculum

Mirror butterflyfish or Oval-spot butterflyfish

Maximum length: 18 cm

Depth: 3 - 30 m

Yellow body with black blindfold and large spot on the middle of the back.

Transparent end seam on the yellow caudal fin.

Less common species, usually roams the reef alone.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Chaetodon striatus

Banded butterflyfish, Butterbun, Butterflyfish, Portuguese butterfly, School mistress or Banded mariposa

Juvenile
Juvenile

Maximum length: 15 cm

Depth: 3 - 20 m

There are two broad transverse bands and an eye mask on its body.

The rest of its body is silver except for the rear edge of the body, back and anal fin, which are also black.

Usually found in pairs.

Not shy, but swims away slowly when approached.

Photo 1 Johnny : Bonaire Caribbean.

Photos 2 - 3 Astrid: Bonaire Caribbean


Chaetodon trifascialis

Chevron butterflyfish, Chevroned butterflyfish,

Triangulate butterflyfish or V-lined butterflyfish

Juvenile
Juvenile

Maximum length: 18 cm

Depth: 1 - 30 m

White with bent horizontal stripes.

Black tail and black horizontal stripe above the eye.

They can be found in lagoons, coral-rich reef tops and on protected outer reefs.

Photo 1 Johnny: El Qesir Egypt

Photo 2 Astrid: Hurghada Egypt


Chaetodon trifasciatus

Melon butterflyfish, Indian redfin or Redfin butterflyfish

Maximum length: 14 cm

Depth: 3 - 20 m

Almost always occur in pairs, roaming long distances to find enough food as exclusive feeders on coral polyps.

Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives


Chaetodon unimaculatus

Teardrop butterflyfish

Maximum length: 20 cm

Depth: 1 - 30 m

Almost always found in pairs.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi


Chaetodon vagabundus

Vagabond butterflxfish or Crisscross butterflyfish

Maximum length: 17 cm

Depth: 5 - 30 m

Mostly traveling in pairs.

Very similar to Chaetodon pictus, but only found in the southern part of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and Oman.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi


Chaetodon xanthocephalus

Yellowhead butterflyfish

Maximum length: 18 cm

Depth: 2 - 25 m

Mainly found in inshore or sheltered reefs with rich coral cover.

Usually found singly, adults occasionally in pairs.

Gray-white body with thin lines, bright yellow head that continues to the pelvic fins.

Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives


Chelmon rostratus

Copperband butterflyfish or Beaked coral fish

Maximum length: 20 cm

Depth: 1 - 25 m

Eyespot in the rear dorsal fin and a long tubular snout.

Territorial species, either singly or in pairs.

Found on inland and coastal reefs, also in sandy-silty areas with murky water.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Coradion altivelis

Highfin coralfish or Highfin butterflyfish

Maximum length: 18 cm

Depth: 10 - 25 m

Coradion altivelis is native to parts of the Indo-Pacific, where it can be found individually or in pairs on reefs.

Photo 1 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Coradion chrysozonus

Orangebanded coralfish or Goldengirdled coralfish

Maximum length: 14 cm

Depth: 5 - 60 m

An eyespot in the rear dorsal fin and a black spot at the base of the tail.

In pairs or singly on deep reef slopes.

Often found with sponges, eats invertebrates.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Lembeh Strait North Sulawesi


Coradion melanopus

Twospot coralfish

Maximum length: 15 cm

Depth: 10 - 30 m

One eyespot each in the anal and rear dorsal fin and a black spot at the base of the tail.

Mostly on reef slopes, in coastal and outer reefs.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Forcipiger flavissimus

Yellow longnose butterflyfish or Forceps butterflyfish

Maximum length: 18 cm

Depth: 2 - 145 m

Laterally flattened, high-backed body with yellow ground color.

Top of head dark, underside white.

Very elongated snout.

Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives


Forcipiger longirostris

Longnose butterflyfish or Big longnose butterflyfish

Maximum length: 22 cm

Depth: 3 - 30 m

Mostly found in pairs.

Photo 1 Johnny: Lembeh - Strait North Sulawesi

Photo 2 Johnny: Embudu Maldives


Heniochus chrysostomus

Threeband pennantfish, Threeband bannerfish or Pennant bannerfish

Maximum length: 16 cm

Depth: 1 - 25 m

Mostly in pairs along deep drop-offs, but can also be seen singly or in small groups in deep lagoons. 

Photo 1 Johnny: Bangka Island North - Sulawesi

Photo 2 Johnny: Bali Indonesia


Heniochus diphreutes

Schooling bannerfish or False moorish idol

Maximum length: 18 cm

Depth: 1 - 15 m

This species has an elongated fourth dorsal fin ray.

They swim in large groups high above the reefs.

Photo 1 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt


Heniochus intermedius

Red sea bannerfish

Maximum length: 20 cm

Depth: 3 - 50 m

It is very similar to the schooling bannerfish, but usually occurs in pairs.

Often motionless in small groups under coral heads or on conspicuous reef structures.

Also hunts for zooplankton in open water during the day.

Not very shy.

Photos 1 - 2 Johnny: Hurghada Egypt

Photo 3 Astrid: Hurghada Egypt


Heniochus pleurotaenia ( Phantom - Wimpelfisch )

Phantom bannerfish

Maximum length: 17 cm

Depth: 1 - 25 m

Forehead hump, white stripe in the middle of the body and a pair of horns above the eyes.

Photo 1 Johnny: Bangka Island North Sulawesi

Photo 2 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Heniochus singularius

Singular bannerfish

Maximum length: 25 cm

Depth: 2 - 50 m

Dark anal fin, horn on the forehead and white ring around the snout.

Shy and not common, very difficult to photograph as they quickly disappear.

Photo 1 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Hemitaurichthys polylepis

Pyramid butterflyfish

Maximum length: 15 cm

Depth: 3 - 50 m

White pyramid-shaped surface and two yellow saddle spots on the back.

Usually in large aggregations on current-exposed outer reef slopes, often several meters away from the reef to snatch zooplankton in the open water.

Photo 1 Johnny: Moalboal Philippines


Hemitaurichthys zoster

Brown-and white butterflyfish, Black pyramid butterflyfish,

Zoster butterflyfish or Brushtooth butterflyfish

Maximum length: 15 cm

Depth: 1 - 35 m

Lives in large aggregations in the upper area on reef slopes and eats zooplankton.

Photo 1 Johnny: Embudu Maldives


Prognathodes aculeatus

Longsnout butterflyfish, Butterbun, Caribbean longsnout butterflyfish or Poey's butterflyfish

Maximum length: 10 cm

Depth: 10 - 70 m

Long, pointed snout and dark, yellow eye stripe that only extends to the eye and does not go above and below the eye as in others.

The upper half of the body is yellow, the lower half white and the dorsal fin black.

Likes to swim alone, usually inhabits deeper reefs and steep walls, tends to live more hidden than other butterflyfish.

Very shy, disappears in a flash into dark crevices when approached.

Photos 1 - 3 Johnny: Bonaire Caribbean