Lined Butterflyfish

The Lined Butterflyfish (Chaetodon lineolatus) is a butterflyfish (family Chaetodontidae), one of the largest species in the genus Chaetodon. They have a wide range from the Red Sea to South Africa and as far east as southern Japan and Hawaii.

Lined butterflyfish may grow up to 30 cm (nearly 12 in) long, which among Chaetodon is matched only by the Saddle Butterflyfish (C. ephippium). They are white in color, with thin black vertical bars which join a thick black band at the base of the tail and dorsal fin. The tail, dorsal, and anal fins are yellow.

This uncommon fish is found in pairs or swimming alone, or occasionally in spawning aggregations. It occurs between 2 and 50 m depth, in coral-rich areas of reefs and lagoons. Coral polyps, small anemones, algae and invertebrates make up their diet.

It belongs to the large subgenus Rabdophorus which might warrant recognition as a distinct genus. In this group, it seems to be member of a lineage also containing species such as the Spot-naped Butterflyfish (C. oxycephalus), or the peculiar Black-wedged Butterflyfish (C. falcula) and Pacific Double-saddle Butterflyfish or "False Falcula" (C. ulietensis). These four differ wildly in shape, but all have bluish vertical lines on a white body with yellow behind, and black on back and caudal peduncle in addition to the typical eyestripe of Chaetodon. The Blue-cheeked Butterflyfish (C. semilarvatus) seems to be a far more basal lineage of Rabdophorus relative to them, but it also has the tell-tale blue vertical lines.

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