The Falcula Butterfly
The falcula butterfly (C. falcula), also
called the saddleback butterfly, is closely
related to the double saddleback butterfly
but is found only in the tropical Indian
Ocean and has a maximum reported length
of almost 8 inches ( 20 cm). It typically
lives on the upper edge and slopes of
reefs in areas of high current and feeds on
corals, anemones, and other invertebrates.
They are usually found in mated pairs or
In the aquarium, this species tends to be
quite hardy and learns to eat a variety of
foods as well. However, it is oftentimes more
aggressive than many other butterflies, so it
is best kept one to a tank and without other
butterflies of similar size and appearance.
The Blue-Mask Butterfly
The blue-mask butterfly (C. semilarvatus),
also called the blue-cheek butterfly, red-
lined butterfly, or golden butterfly, is found
in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden. It has a
maximum reported length of 9 inches ( 23
cm), lives in reef areas, and is usually seen
in pairs or small groups. It also feeds on
corals, other invertebrates, and algae.
In the aquarium, this species is typically
hardy and learns to eat a variety of aquarium
foods. Note that providing some algae-based food is often recommended, though.
It’s also another very peaceful species and
can be kept singly, in pairs, or in small
groups in a suitably sized tank.
The Collare Butterfly
The collare butterfly (C. collare), also
called the Pakistani butterfly or red-tail
butterfly, is found in the tropical Indian
Ocean, around the Maldives and in the
Persian Gulf, and in the tropical Western
Pacific Ocean from Japan to Indonesia. It
has a maximum reported length of about
7 inches ( 18 cm). Mated pairs and small
groups are often seen on the upper edge
and slopes of reefs. This fish also feeds on
corals and other invertebrates.
C. collare typically learns to eat a variety
of foods and is usually hardy in the
aquarium. It is also generally peaceful but
should be kept singly or as part of a mated
pair. However, small groups can be kept
The Vagabond Butterfly
The vagabond butterfly (C. vagabundus)
is found across the tropical Indian Ocean
from East Africa to the Western and Central
Pacific Ocean as far as the Tuamotu Islands,
and from Japan down to the Lord Howe and
Austral Islands. It has a maximum reported
length of 9 inches ( 23 cm) and lives in a
variety of reef environments. It also feeds
on corals, anemones, other invertebrates,
and algae. Mated pairs are common.
In the aquarium, this species typically
learns to eat a variety of foods and is usually
very hardy. It may also be kept singly or as
part of a mated pair but also tends to get
along fine with other species.
And that’s it! Again, these are the most
recommended species from the genus
Chaetodon, all of which will typically adapt
to aquarium life and foods, and they are
generally hardy fishes once they do. If you
can meet their needs, maybe you should
consider adding a beautiful butterfly to
your own marine setup. D
The vagabond butterfly (C. vagabundus).
Blue-mask or blue-cheek butterfly (C. semilarvatus).