Chaetodon lunula (Lacepède, 1802)
Chaetodon lunula (Lacepède, 1802)
Genus: ,

Scientific Name: Chaetodon lunula

English Name: Raccoon butterflyfish

Creole Name: Papiyon

French Name: Papillon raton laveur

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines: 10-14; Dorsal rays: 20-25; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 17-20.

Full-bodied, nearly round, laterally compressed fish. Prominent snout with terminal mouth. 

Colour. A complex colour pattern. Body base colour is a rich yellow. Dorsal half dusky brown. Diagonal orange-brown stripes on the lower sides.  Black mask over eyes, with 
anterior white edge. Adjoined posteriorly to a white area on upper part of head. Broad black crescent, with yellow margins, from the gill cover to middle of spinous dorsal 
fin. Black stripe along base of dorsal fin joining black blotch on peduncle. Median fins yellow with black distal margin and interior colour shading in bands. Reddish-orange 
spot on midpoint of each caudal ray producing bar-like effect.  Pectoral fins yellow lower third, distal two thirds transparent. Pelvic fins yellow. Juveniles with black 
spot on soft dorsal fin and another on peduncle. 


Maturity: Lm unknown. Range unknown. Max Length: 25cm TL.

Habitat and Ecology:

Inhabits lagoons and outer reefs, mostly on reef slopes or inter-tidal areas (depth 1-38m). Juvenile occurs among rocks of inner reef flats and in tide pools. Feeds mainly 
at night on nudibranchs, tubeworm tentacles, coral polyps, benthic invertebrates, zooplankton and algae. Occurs singly, paired, or in small aggregations.

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is caught in the fish trap fishery and also in nets, but is an uncommon component of the landed catch, 
as it is typically released by fishers when caught.  


In water photo courtesy Eleanor Brighton and Chris Mason-Parker (c) 2022 Blue Safari Seychelles/Marine Conservation Society, Seychelles. Photograph taken at Alphonse group 2022.


Froese, R. & D. Pauly. (Eds.) (2019). FishBase. (16/06/19).
Heemstra P & Heemstra, E. (2004). Coastal Fishes of Southern Africa. NISC SAIAB. ISBN: 1-920033-01-7.
Pyle, R. et al. (2010). Chaetodon lunula. The IUCN Red List 2010: (16/06/19).
Sahara-Thompson, A.  Chaetodon lunula in Fishes of Australia, (16/06/19).


Nevill, J.E.G. (2019). Chaetodon lunula, Raccoon butterflyfish. Seychelles Seatizens. (edited 18/07/22).

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