Chaetodon falcula

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Chaetodon falcula
Bep chaetodon falcula.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Chaetodontidae
Genus: Chaetodon (but see text)
Subgenus: Rabdophorus
Species: C. (R.) falcula
Binomial name
Chaetodon (Rabdophorus) falcula
Bloch, 1795

Chaetodon falcula, the blackwedged butterflyfish or falcula butterflyfish, is a species of butterflyfish (family Chaetodontidae). It is found in the Indian Ocean, from eastern Africa south to 27°S and east to Indonesia.[2]

It grows to a maximum of 20 cm (nearly 8 in) long. Its shape is reminiscent of longsnout butterflyfish, though the snout is not as extremely prolonged and the pattern is very different. The body is white with a series of narrow vertical dark grey lines and bright yellow and orange over the back, dorsal fin, anal fin and caudal fin. There are two well-defined black saddles on the back, and as usual the characteristic black eye-band of Chaetodon is present.[2]

The blackwedged butterflyfish is found on the reef edge and upper slope. It prefers current-prone habitats 1–20 m deep. It mainly feeds on invertebrates.[2]

It belongs to the large subgenus Rabdophorus which might warrant recognition as a distinct genus. In this group, the closest relative of this peculiar species is the similar-looking Pacific double-saddle butterflyfish or "false falcula", C. ulietensis. Other fairly close relatives are the quite differently-shaped but similarly colored lined (C. lineolatus) and spot-naped butterflyfishes (C. oxycephalus), while the blue-cheeked butterflyfish (C. semilarvatus) seems to be a far more basal lineage relative to all of these. The bluish vertical lines are present in all of these, while a white body with yellow behind and black on back and caudal peduncle are only shared among the four less ancient species.[3][4]


  1. ^ Allen, G. & Myers, R. 2010. Chaetodon falcula. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. <>. Downloaded on 10 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b c FishBase [2008]: Chaetodon falcula. Retrieved 2008-SEP-01.
  3. ^ Fessler, Jennifer L. & Westneat, Mark W. (2007): Molecular phylogenetics of the butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae): Taxonomy and biogeography of a global coral reef fish family. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 45(1): 50–68. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.05.018 (HTML abstract)
  4. ^ Hsu, Kui-Ching; Chen, Jeng-Ping & Shao, Kwang-Tsao (2007): Molecular phylogeny of Chaetodon (Teleostei: Chaetodontidae) in the Indo-West Pacific: evolution in geminate species pairs and species groups. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 14: 77-86. PDF fulltext Archived August 11, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.