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Teardrop Butterfly - Melanesia


Teardrop Butterfly - Melanesia
Chaetodon unimaculatus
Place of origin: 
Widespread central Pacific, ranging to southern Japan, eastern Australia and Indonesia, west to eastern Sumatra. Occurs on reef-flats to deep outer reef slopes where usually swim in small groups, feeding on mixed algae and invertebrates. In Indonesia usually seen at moderate depths. Adults are mainly in depths between 20-60m, but often on shallow reef flats in oceanic locations. Easily identified by the yellow, white and black colour pattern. Closely related to Chaetodon interruptus and both species occur in Sumatra, but have not yet been found together in the same area. Juveniles are virtually identical to adults in colouration. Length to 20cm, usually 16cm.

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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