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Transcript of Butterfly Fish
Class- Actinopterygi (ray-finned fish)
Order- Perciforms (perch-like fish)
Family- Chaetodontidae Genus (butterfly fish)
thin disk shaped bodies
long, tube-like noses
bright colors and markings
Life Cycle and Diet
Colors: Black, White, Yellow, Orange Silver
Around the size of a teacup
Closely related to angelfish but smaller in size and can be distinguished by the dark spots on the bodies and dark bands around their eyes
Eggs are released into water which form part of the plankton
Average clutch size: 200
Larvae stage lasts 2 or more months
When eggs hatch, the baby butterfly fish (fry) develop armoured plates
As the fish ages, the plates disappear
Average life span of 6 to 12 years
Can grow around 4in (10cm) to 8 in (20 cm) long
Have life-long partners
Favorite food: Plankton
Mostly feed on: plankton, coral, sea anemones, algae, and occasionally small crustaceans.
Predators include: Other fish, eels, and sharks
Because of their special feeding preferences, most species have difficulty in maintaining its home aquaria
Smaller species tend to feed on plankton more
Diurnal animals meaning they feed during the day and rest during the night
Habitat and Niche
Other Important Info
Habitat and Niche
Like coral reefs in tropical waters; can dive as deep as 656 ft
Water Type: Salt
Optimum pH level: 8.1-8.6
Origin: Atlantic, India, and Pacific Oceans
98% of all reefs monitored worldwide contain at least one butterfly fish
There is 10 times higher species diversity in the Pacific than the Atlantic
Majority inhabit the Indo-Pacific region
During the night time, they like to settle into dark crevices; bright colors fade and blend into the background
Smaller species can be seen in large groups while larger species are fairly solitary or stay with their mated partner
Able to escape predators by tucking self into coral due to its small size
Conservation Status: Endangered
Population threatened by water pollution and habitat loss
Destruction of the coral reefs are mainly from boats
Difficult to survive with less food and more exposure to predators
Reef Check Indicator organism for overfishing, poison fishing, and aquarium fish collecting
Reef Check has surveys that indicate species such as Chaetodon baronessa and C. octofasciatus have been severely over fished in two areas of the Philipines
Frequently caught and eaten by people from Hawaii and Philipines despite the small size
Abundance of Butterfly Fish Decreasing Indo-pacific and Atlantic Reefs
The mean number of butterfly fish is decreasing primarily due to overfishing and destructive fishing methods.
Relative Abundance of Butterfly Fish
Additionally, Tissot and Hallacher (1999) demonstrated that aquarium collection significantly reduced the abundance of butterfly fish in Hawaii.
So, what does all this have to do with water quality?
Because of the specific conditions that butterfly fish need in order to survive, it works as a great indicator specie of reef health. Poor reef health would result in less butterfly fish and good reef health would result in more.
Butterfly fish species range from a value of 1 to 8 depending on what they feed on. The more coral reliant they are, the higher their index value and the more opportunistic of a feeder they are, the lower the index value. (The higher the value the more sensitive the organism is to the environment)
Index Value of Different Butterfly Fish Species