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Chaetodon spp.

Max Size: 22 cm (8.7 in.)

Habitat: Shallow waters around reefs from Massachusetts to S. America

Diet: Invertebrates such as polychaete worms, corals, and tunicates

Other Species:
Four-Eye Butterflyfish (Chaetodon capistratus)
Spotfin Butterflyfish (Chaetodon ocellatus)

Fun Facts:

  • Family and genus name means “hair-tooth” on account of their bristle-like teeth that allow them to graze on sedentary invertebrates
  • Most species have a posterior eye-spot; this can help trick predators into attacking the tail, giving the fish a better chance of surviving the attack
  • While not common in NY/NJ Harbor they are sometimes brought up by storms or currents, making them tropical marine strays. They do not do well in the brackish water