Fish of the Month: Ornate Butterflyfish

Photo by Keoki Stender

Let’s take a look at one of Hawaii’s vibrantly stunning and easy to find reef inhabitants: the Ornate Butterflyfish. The Ornate Butterflyfish, or Chaetodon oratissimus, can be found from the shallows to a depth of about 36m/118 ft. You’ll typically see these colorful beauties swimming in pairs over the reef, feeding on coral polyps. When mature, Ornate Butterflyfish are approximately 20cm/7.9 in in length. They have white bodies with orange oblique lines streaking their sides. A characteristic feature of these fish

Drawn by S. Eisenberg

is yellow and black bars striping their faces, giving them a unique definition from other butterflyfish on our local reefs.

You may have seen Ornate Butterflyfish on one of your previous dive trips. The species is
widespread throughout the Indo-Pacific regions. If you’re snorkeling or diving over coral, you have a great chance of spotting them! See how many you can find the next time you’re in the water.



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