Dot-and-Dash Butterflyfish Click to enlarge image
A Dot-and-Dash Butterflyfish at a depth of 15m, Raine Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, November 2001. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    pelewensis
    Genus
    Chaetodon
    Family
    Chaetodontidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 12.5 cm in length.

Introduction

The Dot-and-Dash Butterflyfish can be recognised by its colouration. It occurs in tropical marine waters of the Western Pacific.

Identification

The Dot-and-Dash Butterflyfish has a yellow body with diagonal bands of black spots that become solid lines at the rear of the body. An orange bar with a black margin passes through the eye and the caudal fin base is orange.

Habitat

It typically inhabits offshore reefs with abundant coral cover. It occurs at depths from 2 m to 30 m.

Distribution

The species occurs in tropical marine waters of the Western Pacific, from New Guinea, south to Australia and east to the Tuamoto Islands. In Australia it is known from the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland south to the central New South Wales coast and Lord Howe Island.

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.



Feeding and diet

It feeds on coral polyps and benthic invertebrates.

Other behaviours and adaptations

This fish is often seen in pairs. Sometimes one member of the pair is the Spot-Banded Butterflyfish, Chaetodon punctatofasciatus. The Spot-Banded Butterflyfish differs by having vertical bands of black spots rather than diagonal.

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. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 251.