Chaetodon auriga

Threadfin butterflyfish
Chaetodon auriga
Chaetodon auriga, adult, Aceh, Indonesia, Photo: Ian Shaw
Chaetodon auriga
Chaetodon auriga, juvenile, Narooma, NSW, Photo: Andrew Green
Chaetodon auriga
Chaetodon auriga, adult, NSW, Australia, Photo: Ian Shaw
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Chaetodon auriga
Chaetodon auriga
Chaetodon auriga


Tropical Indo-Pacific


White with yellow rear, extended rays on rear of dorsal fin creating a filament, and often black spot on rear dorsal fin. Differs from C. vagabundus (Vagabond Butterflyfish) in having dorsal filament, and lacking a black bar extending across tail base onto anal fin base.


Max Size: 23 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 19.1-31.2°C

Depth: 1-60m

Habitat Generalization Index: 23.1

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Least Concern

Occurrence: Common (29.2% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Few (2 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: RD Stuart-Smith, GJ Edgar, AJ Green, IV Shaw. 2015. Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland