70 years of helping people to care for our ocean

Fishy Fridays – Butterfly fish

The butterfly fish are some of the most spectacular fish found along our reefs.  These fish have very compressed, disc shaped bodies which are adapted to dart easily in and out of rocky or coral reefs.  Butterfly fish eat coral polyps, small invertebrates, plankton or algae and some species even have a long snout to help them to get at food deep inside cracks in the reef.  Their colour patterns are very varied and appear to be adapted to confuse predators.  The dark band across the eye in most species tends to disguise the position of the eye while the ‘false eye spot’, near the tail, attracts a predator to a less vulnerable region of the body.  In other species the stripes on the body break up the outline of the fish and disguise the vulnerable eye area, thereby protecting the fish. 

Kids activity: Busi the butterfly fish

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