Species encyclopedia

Black-tailed Butterflyfish

Chaetodon austriacus


Black-tailed Butterflyfish can be found in shallow lagoons and the outer slopes of coral reefs, from the surface to 30 m below.

It lives on its own or as a couple. It tends to be relatively sedentary and occupies a vast territory that it defends against other butterflyfish. The juveniles prefer branched corals in the shallows and will stay close to the same colony until they reach maturity.

This species feeds almost exclusively on hard coral polyps (the living part of the coral) and sometimes on anemone tentacles and gastropod eggs.


It reaches sexual maturity at around 2 years. Individual fish form couples, often for the rest of their life. During the breeding period, the male and female go up near the surface to simultaneously release their reproductive cells.

Butterflyfish eggs are spawned in the open water and hatch after a day. Two months later, the larvae settle into the reefs, once they have reached a length of about 15 mm. The larval stage is characterized by the presence of bony plates covering their heads and the fronts of their bodies.

Due to its special diet of coral polyps, it is very rare to find this fish in an aquarium.

Indo-Pacific region


Species encyclopedia

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