What's on the move

Threadfin butterflyfish

Chaetodon auriga

(Image credit: David Harasti)

Common to most butterflyfish, this fish has a pointed mouth and the body is elongated on the dorsal edge forming a rounded rectangle-like shape.
Colouration is a white anterior section merging to yellow on the caudal fin and upper rear of the body. A prominent black band crosses the eyes vertically on both sides. The pattern on the body is composed of diagonally running black bands perpendicularly joining in the centre. Towards the rear of the fish, where yellow is the prominent background colour, the black bands become thicker.

The fish gets its common name from the threadlike yellow filament extending from the soft dorsal fin. This thread grows as the fish matures. Australian species have a black spot at the base of the yellow thread, whereas species from the Red Sea lack this black spot.

Length: Up to 20 cm


Shallow protected reefs and outer reefs; 1-35 m depth

Log it

In New South Wales, log if spotted in Port Stephens and south

Related links/info

Species names on the Redmap site are based on the Codes for Australian Aquatic Biota or CAAB (http://www.cmar.csiro.au/caab/). This is updated regularly and lists the approved common name, family, species name and more.


Randall, John; Allen, Gerald; Steen, Roger (1997). Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press. p. 164. ISBN 0-8248-1895-4.

Find further information and images at FISHES OF AUSTRALIA http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/

Number of sightings 55

Redmap is funded by

Lead institutes