Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory



<I>Chaetodon assarius</I> holotype

Chaetodon assarius holotype


Regional Maps

External Links

CAAB: 37365000



Compiler and date details

24 July 2011 - Gerald R. Allen, Douglass F. Hoese, Norbert J. Cross & Connie J. Allen

December 2006 - Gerald R. Allen, Douglass F. Hoese, Norbert J. Cross & Connie J. Allen


Chaetodontids are conspicuous reef fishes distributed throughout all tropical and subtropical marine waters. Worldwide, there are 122 species in 11 genera (Allen 1980; Nelson 2006), with the Australian chaetodontid fauna consisting of 54 species in 10 genera, with an additional 5 species known from Chirstmas Island. Additional species have been recorded from Australia, but confirmation is needed for Chaetodon falcula and C. triangulum recorded by Grant (1965).

Butterflyfishes mostly inhabit coral reefs, but a few cool water species, such as species of Chelmonops of southern Australia, are found on rocky reefs. They mainly feed on algae and a variety of benthic and planktonic invertebrates, but several species feed exclusively on live coral polyps. They are perhaps the best known of all reef fishes due to their bright and varied colour patterns, graceful shape and movements. They are commercially important in the marine aquarium industry. The maximum length is about 32 cm, but most species are under 20–25 cm.

The Australian butterflyfishes have been treated in a number of scientific and semi-popular books and articles, including the works of Steene (1978), Allen et al. (1998) and Kuiter (2002). Many are also featured in the work on the Great Barrier Reef by Randall et al. (1990). The family has been reviewed by Burgess (1978) and Blum (1989) discussed relationships and biogeography of Indo-Pacific species. Bellwood et al. (2010) discussed evolution of the group.


General References

Allen, G.R. 1980. Butterfly and Angelfishes of the World. New York : John Wiley & Sons Vol. 2 pp. 149-352 figs 214-510.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R. & Allen, M. 1998. A Guide to Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes. Cairns : Odyssey Publishing/Tropical Reef Research 250 pp. figs.

Bellwood, D.R., Klanten, S., Cowman, P.F., Pratchet, M.S., Konow, N. & van Herwerden, L. 2010. Evolutionary history of the butterflyfishes (f: Chaetodontidae) and the rise of coral feeding fishes. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 23: 335–349

Blum, S.D. 1989. Biogeography of the Chaetodontidae, an analysis of allopatry among closely related species. Environmental Biology of Fishes 25(1): 9-31

Burgess, W.E. 1978. Butterflyfishes of the World. New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications Inc. 832 pp. figs.

Grant, E.M. 1965. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Department of Primary Industries 280 pp. [1965–1982]

Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. 2006. Fishes. In, Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 35. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp. [1287]

Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Butterflyfishes, Bannerfishes and their Relatives. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 208 pp.

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Steene, R.C. 1978. Butterfly and Angelfishes of the World. Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed Vol. 1 144 pp. 216 figs.

Waite, E.R. 1905. Notes on fishes from Western Australia. No. 3. Records of the Australian Museum 6(2): 55-82 fig. 23 pls 8-17 [pl. 11 (fig. 1)]


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
19-Dec-2012 19-Dec-2012 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)