TAXONOMY
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Perciformes (Perch-likes)
Family: Chaetodontidae (Butterflyfishes)

Genus/species: Chelmon rostratus

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: All species have a deep, laterally compressed body with a continuous dorsal fin and distinctive rounded anal fin. Many have a band across the eye and/or a false eyespot, patterns that may lure a predator to attack the tail
rather than the head.
The C.rostratus has a whitish body with 4 vertical orange bands and a black false eyespot on the terminal orange band. The snout is long with beak-like mouth.

Length to 19 cm (7.5 in).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: They are found in the Andaman Sea to Papua New Guinea, north to Ryukyu Island, south to Northwest Australia and Great Barrier Reef in estuaries and coastal reefs.

DIET IN THE WILD: Though the diet of the Copperband Butterflyfish is well documented, they are believed to feed heavily on tube worms and small crustaceans using their long snout for prying into the crevices of coral.

REPRODUCTION: Butterflyfishes unlike most fishes are usually monogamous, forming pairs and are often seen swimming together.   They are broadcast spawners an external method of reproduction where the female releases unfertilized eggs into the water. At the same time, a male release sperm into the water which fertilizes the eggs which contain a drop of nutrient oil to sustain the embryo  developing inside the egg case. Oil also provides buoyancy, so the eggs float and drift with the current.  Planktonic eggs hatch within a few days becoming the larval stage lasts from several weeks up to 2 months.  During the late larval stage the head and body are covered with bony plates which mature into small fry fish.

Copperband Butterflyfish8387609757_79c1b099a9_b

CONSERVATION: IUCN; Least Concern (LC)

REMARKS: The Copperbanded Butterflyfish is a food fish marketed locally. and is reported to be “not good” from a culinary standpoint.

Color of Life, Color Conceals.   The Copperband Butterflyfish helps conceals its head by having a vertical line through the eye which matching the 3 other vertical orange bands. A large false spot on its terminal orange band (a less vital portion of its body) confuses predators.

References

Ron’s flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/3380844264/in/set-72157625119200613/

California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Philippine Coral Reef 2016

Ron’s WordPress shortlink: http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-mS

EOL eol.org/pages/339397/details

fishbase fishbase.org/summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=5483

Australian Museum australianmuseum.net.au/Beaked-Coralfish-Chelmon-rostratus