butterfly fish

 any of the approximately 115 species of small, quick-moving marine fishes in the family Chaetodontidae (order Perciformes). Butterfly fishes are found among tropical reefs around the world but are concentrated in the Indo-Pacific oceanic region. Butterfly fishes are deep-bodied and thin from side to side, with a single dorsal fin and a small mouth with tiny, bristlelike teeth. The jaws are sometimes drawn out into a relatively long snout, as in the longnose butterfly fish (Chelmon rostratus) of the Indo-Pacific and the longsnout butterfly fish (Prognathodes aculeatus) of the Atlantic. Most species have strong, prominent spines on the front portions of their dorsal fins.

      Butterfly fishes are small, seldom exceeding a length of about 20 cm (8 inches). They move about with a flitting, darting motion and are very brightly coloured. Black and shades of yellow predominate, and markings are often in the form of dark bands and one or more large spots (ocelli) on the dorsal or posterior region that may serve to confuse predators. Butterfly fishes usually frequent shallow inshore waters, where they feed on a variety of crustaceans and on coral polyps.

 The family contains 10 genera, with the genus Chaetodon alone accounting for almost 90 species. Among them are the foureye butterfly fish (Chaetodon capistratus; see photograph—>), a common West Indian species with a white-ringed, black ocellus near its tail; the spotfin butterfly fish (C. ocellatus), a western Atlantic species with yellow fins and a dark spot at the base of its dorsal fin; and the pennant coralfish, or feather-fin bull fish (Heniochus acuminatus), a black-and-white striped Indo-Pacific species with a very long spine in its dorsal fin.

      Angelfishes (angelfish) (family Pomacanthidae) are closely related to butterfly fishes and are sometimes placed within the family Chaetodontidae; in this context they constitute the subfamily Pomacanthinae.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Butterfly fish — Butterfly But ter*fly , n.; pl. {Butterflies}. [Perh. from the color of a yellow species. AS. buter fl[=e]ge, buttor fle[ o]ge; cf. G. butterfliege, D. botervlieg. See {Butter}, and {Fly}.] (Zo[ o]l.) A general name for the numerous species of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • butterfly fish — noun small usually brilliantly colored tropical marine fishes having narrow deep bodies with large broad fins; found worldwide • Hypernyms: ↑percoid fish, ↑percoid, ↑percoidean • Hyponyms: ↑chaetodon, ↑angelfish, ↑rock beauty, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • butterfly fish — /ˈbʌtəflaɪ fɪʃ/ (say butuhfluy fish) noun (plural butterfly fish or butterfly fishes) any of the tropical marine fishes of the family Chaetodontidae which are suggestive in shape or colouring of the butterfly; coralfish. Usage: For variation in… …   Australian English dictionary

  • butterfly fish — zebrinė kalakutžuvė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Dendrochirus zebra angl. butterfly fish; dwarf lionfish; zebra butterfly cod; zebra firefish; zebra turkey fish rus. дендрохир зебра ryšiai:… …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • butterfly fish — zebrinė sparnapelekė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Pterois volitans angl. butterfly cod; butterfly fish; red lionfish rus. крылатка зебра; рыба зебра ryšiai: platesnis terminas – sparnapelekės …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • butterfly fish — gėlavandenis drugelis statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Pantodon buchholzi angl. African flying fish; butterfly fish rus. пантодон; пресноводная рыба бабочка; рыба мотылёк ryšiai: platesnis terminas –… …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • butterfly fish — pikžuvė statusas T sritis zoologija | vardynas taksono rangas rūšis atitikmenys: lot. Ephippus orbis angl. butterfly fish; spadefish rus. рыба пик; эфипп ryšiai: platesnis terminas – pikžuvės …   Žuvų pavadinimų žodynas

  • butterfly fish — but′terfly fish or but′ter•fly•fish n. ent any of various colored tropical fishes of the family Chaetodontidae, having deep, narrow bodies and darting movements suggestive of a butterfly • Etymology: 1735–45 …   From formal English to slang

  • butterfly fish — noun 1》 a brightly coloured reef dwelling fish popular in marine aquaria. [Chaetodon and related genera.] 2》 a predatory marine fish with long venomous spines. [Genus Pterois.] 3》 a West African freshwater fish with large pectoral fins used in… …   English new terms dictionary

  • butterfly fish — noun a) any fish of the family Chaetodontidae. b) Pantodon buchholzi, a small brown fish of western African streams, often found in aquariums …   Wiktionary

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