Chevroned Butterflyfish Click to enlarge image
A Chevroned Butterflyfish at a depth of 20m, Northern Small Detached Reef, far northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland December 2001. Image: Erik Schlögl
© Erik Schlögl

Fast Facts

  • Classification
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 18 cm in length.


The Chevroned Butterflyfish occurs in tropical marine waters and typically inhabits inshore and offshore coral reefs and lagoons. The species is highly territorial and will defend its territory from other coral-eating butterflyfishes and members of its own species.


The Chevroned Butterflyfish has a white body with black chevron markings on the side. A black bar passes through the eye and the caudal fin is black with a yellow margin. Juvenile Chevroned Butterflyfish are similar to the adults, except they have a yellow caudal fin and a black bar across the rear of the body.

Chevroned Butterflyfish, Chaetodon trifascialis
A larval Chevroned Butterflyfish in an aquarium. The fish was caught close to the surface during a fieldtrip to Lizard Island over January and February 2008. Image: Colin Wen
© Colin Wen


Chevroned Butterflyfish typically inhabit inshore and offshore coral reefs and lagoons. This fish is often seen as a solitary individual or in pairs associated with Staghorn coral Acropora spp. It is found in depths from 2 m to 30 m.


It occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific, from East Africa, north to Japan, south to Australia and east to the Society Islands. In Australia it is known from the south-western coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country, and south to the central coast of New South Wales.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Feeding and diet

The Chevroned Butterflyfish feeds on the mucous and polyps of the Acropora coral within its territory.

Other behaviours and adaptations

The species is highly territorial and will defend its territory from other coral-eating butterflyfishes and members of its own species.

Breeding behaviours

The territory of each male includes the territories of two or three females. Pairs of the Chevroned Butterflyfish spawn during the new and full moons.


  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 220.
  2. Allen, G.R., Steene, R. & M. Allen. 1998. A Guide to Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes. Odyssey Publishing/Tropical Reef Research. Pp. 250.
  3. Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Butterflyfishes. Bannerfishes and their relatives. A Comprehensive Guide to Chaetodontidae & Microcanthidae. TMC Publishing. Pp. 208.
  4. Myers, R.F. 1999. Micronesian Reef Fishes. Coral Graphics. Pp. 330.
  5. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 251.