Chaetodon zanzibarensis (Playfair, 1867)
Chaetodon zanzibarensis (Playfair, 1867)
Genus: ,

Scientific Name: Chaetodon zanzibarensis

English Name: Zanzibar butterflyfish

Creole Name: Papiyon

French Name: Papillon de Zanzibar

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines: 13-14; Dorsal rays: 15-17; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 15-17.

Small near round profile, strongly laterally compressed. Steep forehead descending to small terminal mouth.  Single long dorsal fin covering entire body length. 

Colour. Bright yellow head and body. Mouth orange-yellow. Black bar, with white edges, from top of head through eye to bottom of operculum. Large black oval spot, with 
white or bluish edge, in posterior half of body on lateral line. Median and pelvic fins yellow. Pectoral fin hyaline. Posterior 40% of caudal fin transparent. 


Maturity: Lm unknown. Range unknown. Max Length: 12cm TL.

Habitat and Ecology:

Favours areas of rich coral growth, particularly Acropora species, in lagoons and on outer reef slopes (depth 1-40m, usually 3-40m). Feeds on live coral (obligate corallivore).
It is most often observed singly or in pairs, but may aggregate where staghorn coral is plentiful. Oviparous, monogamous. Form pairs during breeding.

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is caught in the fish trap fishery but rarely appears at market as too small to sell. 


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. (09/08/19).
Myers, R. & Pratchett, M. (2010). Chaetodon zanzibarensis. The IUCN Red List 2010: (09/08/19).


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

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