CHAETODONTIDAE
butterflyfishes

  Chaetodon larvatus
Cuvier, 1831

Relevant synonyms
None.

Misidentification
None.

Meristic formula
D, XI-XII+23-27; A, III+21-26; P, 15-16; V, I+5

 photo : Daniel Golani    

SHORT DESCRIPTION
Body deep and very compressed. Small head with pointed snout. Small protractile slightly oblique mouth. Long and narrow tightly packed teeth forming brush-like surface at the anterior of both jaws. Large eye and narrow interorbital distance. A long continuous  dorsal fin with clear incisions between its 7th-8th spines. The posterior part of dorsal and anal fins is elongated giving the entire fish a triangular shape. Caudal fin round. Body covered with finely ctenoid scales including on the head and some of the median fins membranes.

color : the anterior part of the head from the dorsal fin origin, behind the eye to pelvic fin origin brownish-orange. Most of the body bluish-grey with narrow chevron-shaped vertical yellow lines. Posterior part of dorsal fin, caudal peduncle and most of the caudal fin are black. Posterior edge of caudal fin light blue to white.

size : common 8-12 cm (max. 15 cm).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS
The color pattern of this species differs significantly from all other Mediterranean species.

BIOLOGY / ECOLOGY
Live mainly in pairs but in areas with poor coral reefs, such as in the Gulf of Suez where it forms aggregations of 40-50 fish. Feeds primary on coral polyps and benthic invertebrates in its native region. Eggs and larvae pelagic. The late post-larvae, often called tholichthys, bear large bony plates on the head and anterior part of the body.

habitat : among coral reefs, rocky and open habitats at depths down to 40 m.


1st MEDITERRANEAN RECORD
Israel, 2011.


DISTRIBUTION
Worldwide : considered endemic to the Red Sea, Gulf of Aden and possibly also in the Gulf of Oman. Mediterranean : Israel.

ESTABLISHMENT SUCCESS
Very rare.

speculated reasons for success :


MODE OF INTRODUCTION
Via the Suez Canal.


IMPORTANCE TO HUMANS
None.


KEY REFERENCES

  • Allen G., Steene R. and Allen M., 1998. A Guide to Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes. Odyssey, Weast Parth, Australia. 250 pp.
  • Salameh P., Sonin O., Edelis D. and Golani D., 2011. First record of the Red Sea Orangeface Butterflyfish Chaetodon larvatus Cuvier, 1831in the Mediterranean. Aquatic Invasions 6(1): S53-S55.

 

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Last update of the species sheet:
November 2013

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