Marine life identification guide>Butterflyfish & bannerfish

Butterflyfish and bannerfish species identification guide

Some of the most beautiful coral reefs fish

Chaetodontidae (a large family comprising butterflyfish and bannerfish) are some of the most beautiful and colored reef fish. They are among the most common sights on reefs throughout the world, especially at low depth. The 120 butterflyfish species are mainly found on shallow reefs in the tropical Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. They are well known for their brightly colored body and elaborate patterns and markings. Many have dark bands and one or more large “eyespots” on their flanks that may serve to confuse predators, and a dark “mask” across their eyes. Butterflyfish are deep-bodied and thin fish, with a relatively long snout and a small mouth, allowing them to feed on a variety of small crustaceans and on coral polyps. Most of species does not exceed a 20cm (8 inches) length. Butterfly fish form mating pairs that they remain with for life.

Butterflyfish population range

The Indo-Pacific region is where most of butterflyfish species are concentrated, with approximately 50 different species found in Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia. 17 are found in Hawaii, including 3 endemic species: the bluestripe butterflyfish, the millet butterflyfish and the Hawaii butterflyfish. Only 5 butterflyfish species -not the most colorful- occur in the Caribbean, the most frequently spotted there being the banded and the foureye butterflyfish. 5 butterflyfish are endemic of the Red Sea, including the majestic masked butterflyfish.

Caribbean & Western Atlantic butterflyfish

Indopacific butterflyfish and bannerfish



Eastern Pacific Ocean butterflyfish

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