Australian Wildlife

  Vagabond Butterflyfish (Chaetodon vagabundus)

Vagabond Butterflyfish | Chaetodon vagabundus photo
Vagabond butterflyfish. Underwater photograph, Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia

Image by Bernard E. Picton - Some rights reserved.    (view image details)

Vagabond Butterflyfish | Chaetodon vagabundus photo
Vagabond Butterflyfish

Image by Dr. Dwayne Meadows, NOAA/NMFS/OPR - License: Public Domain.    (view image details)


The Vagabond Butterflyfish has a white body with two sets of thin dark lines perpendicular to each other. One set of lines is on the front on the body and slope upwards from the head and pectoral fin towards the dorsal fin; the other set of lines slopes downwards from the centre of the body. There is a black band through the eye, and thin yellow lines between the eyes and on the forehead. There is a black band is present at the rear of the body and another black band through the tail. The dorsal fin, anal fin and tail are yellow. Juvenile Vagabond Butterflyfish are similar to adults but have a black spot at the rear of the dorsal fin.

length to 23cm

reef flats, reef lagoons, seaward reefs at depths from 1m to 30m. Often seen feeding with other species.

algae, coral polyps, crustaceans, worms

Oviparous. Forms monogamous pairs during breeding.

The Vagabond Butterflyfish is found in tropical marine waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific. In Australia it is found from the north-western coast of Western Australia, and on the east coast from the top of the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland to the southern coast of New South Wales.

Common Name:Vagabond Butterflyfish

Relatives in same Genus
  Threadfin Butterflyfish (C. auriga)
  Eastern Triangular Butterflyfish (C. baronessa)
  Bennett's Butterflyfish (C. bennetti)
  Speckled Butterflyfish (C. citrinellus)
  Saddled Butterflyfish (C. ephippium)
  Dusky Butterflyfish (C. flavirostris)
  Klein's Butterflyfish (C. kleinii)
  Redfin Butterflyfish (C. lunulatus)
  Eight-banded Butterflyfish (C. octofasciatus)
  Ornate Butterflyfish (C. ornatissimus)
  Latticed Butterflyfish (C. rafflesii)
  Dotted Butterflyfish (C. semeion)
  Oval-spot Butterflyfish (C. speculum)
  Chevroned Butterflyfish (C. trifascialis)
  Double-saddle Butterflyfish (C. ulietensis)
  Teardrop Butterflyfish (C. unimaculatus)