Butterflyfish are small colourful fish, regularly seen on the reef in pairs as it is believed they mate for life. Butterflyfish are most often black, white and yellow, with a black band blocking out their eye. They then usually have a false eye spot at the back of their bodies to confuse predators – very smart little fish!
Double-saddled Butterflyfish (Chaetodon dolosus)
This butterflyfish is commonly seen on the coral reef and is easily recognised by the two obvious dark saddle markings across its back, and a black band on its tail base. Like all butterflyfish it has a black bar running through its eye, and vertical stripes on the body. They are often seen in pairs or small groups, swimming around on the reef, feeding on coral polyps, crustaceans and algae.
Raccoon Butterflyfish (Chaetodon lunula)
The Raccoon butterfly fish has a yellow body with dark shading and thin diagonal stripes across their body. Like all butterflyfish they have a dark bar over their eye. Racoon butterflyfish have a white patch behind the eye, which is connected to a thick dark diagonal band towards the dorsal fin. Their body is also outlined with a dark band. They are seen in pairs, or in large schools cruising over the reef in shallower waters.
Indian red-fin Butterflyfish (Chaetodon trifasciatus)
The Indian red-fin butterflyfish is a paler butterflyfish with a bluish tint to the body with feint purple stripes and the anal fin and base of tail are red. Indian red-fin butterflyfish can be easily identified by the black bar across its eye and a yellow edged black band across the base of the anal fin. They are commonly seen in pairs swimming close to the reef feeding on coral polyps, small crustaceans and algae.
Yellowhead Butterflyfish (Chaetodon xanthocephalus)
Yellowhead butterflyfish are frequently seen on the reef. They are recognised by their white body and yellow fins. As their name suggests they have a yellow head! They are either seen alone or in pairs, close to the reef feeding on small invertebrates and algae
Meyer’s Butterflyfish (Chaetodon Meyeri)
Meyer’s butterflyfish have a white body with a bluish tint and a yellow outline. They can be identified by the curving black bands across its flat disc-shaped body and dark band through the eye. They are found either alone or in pairs close to the reef.
Threadfin Butterflyfish (Chaetodon auriga)
Threadfin butterflyfish are recognised by the chevron pattern on their body, yellow tail, the dark bar through its eye and the false eyespot. The adults also have a long filament trailing from dorsal fin. They are found in pairs, solitary or in small groups swimming close to the reef.
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