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Pearlscale Butterfly - West Ind Ocean


Pearlscale Butterfly - West Ind Ocean
Chaetodon madagascariensis
Place of origin: 
Western Indian Ocean
Widespread western Indian Ocean, becoming rare towards Indonesian waters. Only known from Sumatra there. Outer reef habitats, adults usually occur in pairs. Easily identified by their orange markings and 5-6 chevron shaped lines on the body. Closely related to Chaetodon mertensii  from the Western Pacific that has fewer chevron bars and a continuous band running from the nape to over the eye. Length to 12cm.

The members of the family Chaetodontidae, popularly know as butterflyfishes, coralfishes and bannerfishes. Most species of butterflyfish live in the warm tropical seas of the Indo-Pacific (about 90%) with the remainder in the Atlantic. Only a few species are found in subtropical waters, bordering onto subtemperate zones. The butterflyfish have a highly compressed body in which the back is raised , forming an elongate-oval to near circular shape in some; a small protactible mouth with brush-like teeth in the jaws; a continuous dorsal fin with strong and sharp spines in the anterior section, followed by a large-surface soft part; an anal fin mirroring the soft part of the dorsal fin , headed by 3-5 strong spines, of which the 2nd is often greatly enlarged.

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