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butterfly fish

butterfly fish, common name for certain members of the Chaetodontidae, a family of reef-dwelling tropical fishes with compressed bodies and small mouths and teeth. Butterfly fish are carnivorous, feeding on crabs, barnacles, and other invertebrates. The fast and aggressive common butterfly fish, 5 to 8 in. (12.5–20 cm) long, is marked by dark lines through the eyes and near the tail. The angelfishes were formerly classified with the butterfly fishes but are now treated as a separate family. The butterfly fishes are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Perciformes, family Chaetodontidae.

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Chaetodontidae

Chaetodontidae (butterfly fish, angelfish; subclass Actinopterygii, order Perciformes) Large family of marine, deep-bodied, and almost discus-shaped fish. They have a small, protractile mouth, minute teeth on the jaws (the name is derived from the Greek khaite, hair, and odont-, tooth), a single, continuous dorsal fin with scales along the base, and a round to notched tail fin. The family includes numerous beautiful, brightly coloured species, which are very popular among sea-water aquarium hobbyists. Among the more widely distributed butterfly fish are Chaetodon capistratus (four-eye butterfly fish) of the western Atlantic, and Chaetodon vagabundus (vagabond butterfly fish) of the Indo-Pacific and northern Australia. Angelfish, e.g. Pomacanthus imperator (emperor angelfish) of the Indo-Pacific, have a characteristic spine at the angle of the pre-opercle (part of the gill cover), and are often placed in a separate family, the Pomacanthidae.

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butterfly fish

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