Lined butterflyfish

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Lined butterflyfish
Chaetodon lineolatus.jpg
Scientific classification
Chaetodon (but see text)
C. lineolatus
Binomial name
Chaetodon lineolatus
G. Cuvier, 1831
Lined Butterflyfish at the Red Sea, Egypt

The lined butterflyfish (Chaetodon lineolatus) is a butterflyfish (family Chaetodontidae), one of the largest species in the genus Chaetodon.[1] They have a wide range from the Red Sea to South Africa and as far east as southern Japan and Hawaii.[2]

Lined butterflyfish may grow up to 30 cm (nearly 12 in) long, which among Chaetodon is matched only by the saddle butterflyfish (C. ephippium), making them about as big as dinner plates. They are white in color, with thin black vertical bars which join a thick black band at the base of the tail and dorsal fin. The tail, dorsal, and anal fins are yellow.[1][3]

This uncommon fish is found in pairs or swimming alone, or occasionally in spawning aggregations. It occurs between 2 and 50 m depth, in coral-rich areas of reefs and lagoons. Coral polyps, small anemones, algae and invertebrates make up their diet.[1][2]

It belongs to the large subgenus Rabdophorus which might warrant recognition as a distinct genus. In this group, it seems to be member of a lineage also containing species such as the spot-naped butterflyfish (C. oxycephalus), or the peculiar black-wedged butterflyfish (C. falcula) and Pacific double-saddle butterflyfish or "false falcula" (C. ulietensis). These four differ wildly in shape, but all have bluish vertical lines on a white body with yellow behind, and black on back and caudal peduncle in addition to the typical eyestripe of Chaetodon. The blue-cheeked butterflyfish (C. semilarvatus) seems to be a far more basal lineage of Rabdophorus relative to them, but it also has the tell-tale blue vertical lines.[4][5]


  1. ^ a b c Lieske, E. & Myers, R.F. (2004): Coral reef guide – Red Sea. HarperCollins, London. ISBN 0-00-715986-2
  2. ^ a b FishBase [2008]: Chaetodon lineolatus. Retrieved 2008-SEP-01.
  3. ^ Hoover, John P. (2008). The Ultimate Guide to Hawaiian Reef Fishes, Sea Turtles, Dolphins, Whales, and Seals. Mutual Publishing. ISBN 978-1-56647-887-8.
  4. ^ 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)
  5. ^ 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 2007-08-11 at the Wayback Machine

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