Blacktail Butterflyfish [Chaetodon austriacus]

The Blacktail butterflyfish or Exquisite butterflyfish or Polyp Butterflyfish, Chaetodon austriacus, is a member of the Chaetodontidae. The blacktail butterflyfish has a small range; the Red Sea and southern Oman only. However story tells that the blacktail butterflyfish has been sighted in El Nido, Palawan, Philippines by Dr. Gerry Allen during a fish identification project last July 2007.

The blacktail butterflyfish is up to 14 cm long and is orange with thin, curved black stripes. Its anal fin and tail are black. The body of juveniles is whiter above with white bands on the tail. It grazes on coral polyps and anemone tentacles. Adults are generally found in pairs patrolling a territory or range while juveniles are found among coral branches. They tend to be found in coral-rich areas between 0.5 m and 20 m depth, on seaward reefs or in lagoons or bays. The melon butterflyfish is similar in coloration but has orange bands on the tail and anal fin.

Picture: Naama Bay, Red Sea, Egypt by Sami Salmenkivi

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