Animal Species:Pyramid Butterflyfish, Hemitaurichthys polylepis (Bleeker, 1857)

The Pyramid Butterflyfish can be recognised by its colouration. The species is usually seen in outer reef areas close to drop-offs.

A Pyramid Butterflyfish at Mantis Reef

Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Pyramid Butterflyfish

Identification

The Pyramid Butterflyfish can be recognised by its colouration. It has a brown to black head. The dorsal and anal fins are yellow. There is a large white pyramid-shaped area on the side of the body. The caudal fin is white.

Size range

The species grows to 18 cm in length.

Distribution

The species occurs in tropical marine waters of the Eastern Indian Ocean and Western and Central Pacific, from South-east Asia, Christmas Island and Coco-Keeling Atoll, north to Japan, south to Australia and east to the Hawaiian and Pitcairn Islands. In Australia it is known from the north-western coast of Western Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland and northern New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Hemitaurichthys+polylepis

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Pyramid Butterflyfish specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Habitat

The Pyramid Butterflyfish is usually seen in depths between 3 m and 60 m in outer reef areas close to drop-offs.

Feeding and Diet

It often forms large shoals containing hundreds of individuals all swimming high in the water column feeding on plankton.

Classification

Species:
polylepis
Genus:
Hemitaurichthys
Family:
Chaetodontidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 220.
  2. Allen, G.R., Steene, R. & M. Allen. 1998. A Guide to Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes. Odyssey Publishing/Tropical Reef Research. Pp. 250.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Butterflyfishes. Bannerfishes and their relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Chaetodontidae & Microcanthidae. TMC Publishing. Pp. 208.
  5. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.
  6. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 251.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Pyramid Butterflyfish, Hemitaurichthys polylepis, Chaetodontidae, yellow, black, white, 'normal fish', 10 cm - 30 cm, stripes or bands, coral reef, marine, adult, pyramid marking,