Wild Fact #736 – No Place Like Home – Butterfly Fish

Photo by: Bernard E. Picton

Here we are at the end of another week of Wild Facts.  I was thinking of doing a little bit of fishing this weekend.  I figure I better try to get out before the snow starts flying.  In honour of my potential fishing plans I figured I would write about an interesting little fish today.  I really don’t think I will be catching any Butterfly Fish this weekend since they are found in Tropical and Sub-Tropical waters.  Don’t get me wrong I would love to be fishing the Tropical waters this weekend but I think I will just stick to the northern rivers of the Yukon for now.

If you have ever gone snorkeling around the Tropical coral reefs then you most likely have seen these spectacular fish.  They are brightly coloured with unique patterns and just happen to be the most common fish species on the reefs.  Out of all of the different patterns of Butterfly Fish I think I like the ones with the large eye-spot.  To me this is a very clever defense mechanism since it confuses the poor predator. They usually have no idea what end to attack, which gives the Butterfly Fish a better chance to escape.

Photo by: Leonardo Stabile

There are about 114 species of Butterfly Fish and their thin, round-shaped bodies often resemble that of their cousin, the Angelfish. In order to tell these two types of fish apart, you will need to look for the black spots or the dark bands around the eyes of the Butterfly Fish.  All day these little fish will continuously peck at the coral reefs looking for polyps, worms or other invertebrates.

Not only does the coral provide an excellent spot to find food but the Butterfly Fish will also spend their nights resting inside the coral.  In fact the coral also provides a safe refuge when larger predators such as snappers and sharks come looking for a quick meal.  It goes to show just how important this coral is to this particular fish species.  Naturally the destruction of coral reefs, which we are seeing worldwide, is impacting the population of Butterfly Fish.

Butterfly Fish Fast Fact – Unlike most fish species the Butterfly Fish will form life-long mating pairs.  Awww, isn’t that cute!  Little husband and wife Butterfly Fish.

That does it for this week of Wild Facts.  Have a great weekend and get out to enjoy the sunshine.

2 Responses

  1. Carmen Henesy 7 years ago
    • Nathan Nathan 7 years ago

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