Animal Species:Bluespot Butterflyfish, Chaetodon plebeius (Cuvier 1831)

The Bluespot Butterflyfish are usually found in pairs. They live off coastal and inner reefs feeding mainly on coral polyps.

A Bluespot Butterflyfish at Bougainville Reef

A Bluespot Butterflyfish at Bougainville Reef
Photographer: Erik Schlögl © Erik Schlögl

Standard Common Name

Bluespot Butterflyfish

Alternative Name/s

Also known as a Blue-dash Butterflyfish.


The Bluespot Butterflyfish has thin dark stripes on the body and a patch of blue on the upper sides. There is a black spot on the caudal peduncle and a blue-edged black bar through the eye. Juveniles resemble adults but lack the blue patch on the sides of the body.

Size range

The Bluespot Butterflyfish grows to 15 cm in length.


The species lives in tropical marine waters throughout the Indo-Australian archipelago, north to Japan and east to Fiji. In Australia it is recorded from southern to north-western Western Australia and from the northern Great Barrier Reef to 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.

Chaetodon plebeius

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Bluespot Butterflyfish specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?

Feeding and Diet

It eats mostly coral polyps.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. Allen, G.R., Steene, R. & M. Allen. 1998. A Guide to Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes. Odyssey Publishing/Tropical Reef Research. Pp. 250.
  3. Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
  4. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  5. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  6. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.
  7. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.

Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fish, ichthyology, Bluespot Butterflyfish, Chaetodon plebeius, Chaetodontidae, yellow, black, blue, 'normal fish', 10 cm - 30 cm, dots/spots, strips or bands, coral reef, marine, adult,