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by Buddy Davis and Kay Davis on November 30, 2015

Called “butterfly” for their small size, bright colors, and darting movements, these fish are thin-bodied with a round shape. They are a variety of colors ranging from yellow with black stripes, white with black stripes, or orange-yellow over black. The markings on the tail resemble those on the head, giving the fish a better chance to evade a predator attacking from the rear.

The butterfly fish has a very small mouth with small, brush-like teeth. Living in warm tropical waters, the fish feed during the day on animal and plant material such as tubeworms and sponges. They also like to bite off the ends of the sea anemone’s tentacles; however, the clownfish, which lives in the sea anemone’s tentacles, quickly chases the butterfly fish away. After feeding during the day, the butterfly fish will find a secluded place and rest.

Most of the species of butterfly fish can be found around the coral reefs. They usually travel in pairs or a small group over the reefs. It is one of the most popular fish that divers and snorkelers look for when among the reef.

Butterfly Fish

Chaetodontidae • Chaetodon sedentarius

Length: 6 inches (15 cm)
Lifespan: Unknown
Special Design Feature: The markings on the tail of the butterfly fish resemble those on the head, giving the fish a better chance to evade a predator that attacks from the rear.
Did you know? There are over 150 species of butterfly fish worldwide.

Butterfly Fish