Great Barrier Reef Region Guide

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Butterfly Fish

Updated: 20-Mar-2009

Beautiful Butterfly Fish

The bright and colourful Butterflyfish are among the most commonly seen on the reef. There are actually 114 species of Butterflyfish, most have intricate patterns with striking backgrounds of blue, red, orange or yellow. They are usually seen in pairs. These pairs are life-long mates and may remain together exclusively for the duration of their lives – up to 25-30 years!

They spend their days tirelessly pecking at coral and rock formations with their long snouts in search of coral polyps, worms and other small invertebrates. They have specially adapted teeth with small bristles on the ends that allow them to grip slippery prey. At night, the Butterflyfish settle into dark crevices where their brilliant colours fade to blend into the reef background

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