The Butterflyfish (Chaetodon benetti) is a marine species belonging to the Chaetodontidae family. It is a reef-dwelling fish that is distinguished by its attractive, bright coloration. There are many different species of Butterflyfish occuring in Indo-Pacific waters, from East Africa to the Pitcairn Islands, north to Japan and south to Lord Howe Island and Rapa Iti.
The Butterflyfish can be spotted in seaward and lagoon reefs, provided that the area has rich coral growth.
The appearance of the Butterflyfish varies according to the specific species. The Masked Butterflyfish, pictured below, has a yellow body patched with a black patch over its face, which looks like a mask. The largest measured Butterfish is approximately 8 inches in length.
In its natural environment, the diet of the Butterflyfish consists basically of coral polyps. An omnivorous creature, the Butterflyfish’s dependence on natural surroundings for food instantly makes it a rather difficult aquarium fish to maintain.
Butterflyfish Behaviour Toward Scuba Divers
The Butterflyfish is a harmless sea creature and is poses no threat to scuba divers. It can be found on coral reefs with a depth range of about 1 to 30 meters. The Butterflyfish is also known to be non-territorial and non-aggressive towards other fishes.
Butterflyfish are oviparous marine species. They form pairs during breeding. There has not been any known success in breeding butterflyfish in captivity.
Threats to the Butterflyfish
A common sighting in natural underwater environments, the Butterflyfish is not an endangered species.