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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes > Family Chaetodontidae
Kite butterflyfish
Parachaetodon ocellatus

Family Chaetodontidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This kite-shaped fish with stripes and a spot on the base of the tail is sometimes seen on our Northern our shores. Among seagrasses or coral rubble. Usually alone but sometimes in a group. Elsewhere, it is found in coastal and inner reef habitats, often in sandy or silty flat-bottom areas littered with sponge growth, sometimes found among seagrass.

Features: To about 18cm, those seen at low tide usually about 4-8cm. Four brown, broad bands across the body (5 bands as juveniles and 4 as adults). The snout is blunt. There is a black eye spot at the base of the tail fin with a less distinct 'false eye' on the dorsal fin. Adults have a more pointed dorsal fin. It is also sometimes called the Ocellate coralfish.

Sometimes, small groups of small Kite butterflyfishes (about 3-4cm) are seen near, but not touching, Haddon's carpet anemones (Stichodactyla haddoni). The fishes form pairs during breeding season.

Elsewhere, juveniles sometimes seen in large lagoons with seagrasses. Adults school in large numbers over open muddy bottoms in deep water.

What does it eat? It eats small bottom-dwelling creatures and possibly sponges. It is also reported to be omnivorous.

Human uses: Unfortunately these beautiful fishes are popular in the live aquarium trade although they are considered difficult to keep and feed.

Kusu Island, Aug 08

Chek Jawa, Jul 05

Near a cerianthid.
Changi, Jun 02

Sometimes seen near carpet anemones.
Chek Jawa, Jul 05

Juvenile seen among seagrasses.
Cyrene Reef, Jul 08

Kite butterflyfishes on Singapore shores

Photos of Kite butterflyfishes for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

Changi, Oct 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Punggol, Jun 12
Photo shared by Heng Pei Yan on her blog.

Punggol, Oct 15
Photo shared by Law Ing Sind on facebook.

East Coast-Marine Bay, Oct 15
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

East Coast-Marina Bay, Nov 17
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Labrador, Sep 09
Photo shared by Neo Mei Lin on her blog.

Berlayar Creek, Apr 16
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Pulau Hantu, Jul 07
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.




  • Allen, Gerry, 2000. Marine Fishes of South-East Asia: A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Periplus Editions. 292 pp.
  • Kuiter, Rudie H. 2002. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia: A Comprehensive Reference for Divers & Fishermen New Holland Publishers. 434pp.
  • Lieske, Ewald and Robert Myers. 2001. Coral Reef Fishes of the World Periplus Editions. 400pp.
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