Sunburst butterflyfish

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Sunburst butterflyfish
Bep chaetodon kleinii pemba.jpg
Western color morph at Pemba Island (Tanzania)
Scientific classification
Chaetodon (but see text)
C. (L.) kleinii
Binomial name
Chaetodon (Lepidochaetodon) kleinii
Bloch, 1790

Chaetodon corallicola Snyder, 1904

The sunburst butterflyfish, Chaetodon kleinii, is also known as the black-lipped butterflyfish (or "blacklip butterflyfish") or Klein's butterflyfish.

It is a native of the Indo-Pacific region, from the Red Sea and East Africa to the Hawaiian Islands and Samoa, north to southern Japan, south to Australia and New Caledonia. It is also found in Galapagos Islands in the Eastern Pacific.[2]

Under its junior synonym C. corallicola was placed in the monotypic subgenus Tifia, but this cannot be separated from the earlier-described Lepidochaetodon (sometimes considered a separate genus). It appears to be closer to the Tahiti butterflyfish (C. trichrous) than to the teardrop butterflyfish (C. unimaculatus).[3][4]

Description and ecology[edit]

The body of this fish is yellowish brown with 1-2 broad lighter vertical bars, one running from near the origin of the dorsal spine to the belly, and sometimes another running from the middle of the back to the center of the body. A black bar runs vertically across the eye, and the part before this is whitish, with a black snout. The color varies somewhat across the range; western specimens usually have one beige bar, while eastern ones have two white bars. There may be numerous dotted horizontal stripes on the sides, or another dark band between the two light ones in eastern specimens.[2]

In the wild, the sunburst butterflyfish is found at depths of 4–61 meters, usually in deeper lagoons and channels and seaward reefs, swimming singly, or (particularly during breeding) in pairs. These fish are oviparous.[2]

They are omnivores, feeding mainly on soft coral polyps (especially Litophyton viridis and Sarcophyton tracheliophorum), algae and zooplankton. In the aquarium, Chaetodon kleinii will eat meaty food such as mysis. Its coral-eating habits can become a nuisance, but on the other hand they are fond of Aiptasia, small sea anemones that often become a pest in seawater aquaria.[2]


  1. ^ Rocha, L.A., Pyle, R., Myers, R., Craig, M.T. & Pratchett, M. 2010. Chaetodon kleinii. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. <>. Downloaded on 10 September 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d FishBase (2008): Chaetodon kleinii. Version of 2008-JAN-14. 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 2007-08-11 at the Wayback Machine