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Seaweek 2010: Oceans of Life - ours to explore; ours to restore


• Butterflyfish are renowned for their exquisite colour patterns and graceful appearance.

• They are small and roughly disc shaped, usually with bright yellow markings.

• Many have a fake eye spot on the upper part of their dorsal fin, and a dark vertical bar covering their eye, which confuse potential predators as to which end is the head and allows the fish to escape with part of its fin missing rather than part of its head.

• Butterflyfish have a thin mouth which is elongated, specifically designed to feed on live corals (by sucking out the polyps), although their diet is not restricted to coral.

• They are often seen in pairs, frequently staying like this for life. • They are prey to larger predators and sharks. • Butterflyfish are often found in aquariums due to their attractive appearance.

• Reef Check Australia identify and monitor Butterflyfish.

Interesting Fact: At nighttime butterflyfish often hide in rock crevices and exhibit very different coloration than they do during the day.

Further links:

• Wikipedia:

• Australian Museum online:



Butterflyfish from James Shiell Flickr


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