Fun Ornate Butterflyfish Facts For Kids

Ritwik Bhuyan
May 18, 2023 By Ritwik Bhuyan
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla
Ornate butterflyfish facts are interesting to read.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.4 Min

The Ornate Butterflyfish, Chaetodon ornatissimus, is a part of the species of marine ray-finned fish. The ray-finned fish is a butterflyfish that comes from the family of Chaetodontidae.

Members of the class of Actinopterygii are called ray-finned fish. The Ornate Butterflyfish are also known by the name Clown Butterflyfish.

This fish is easily recognizable due to the beautiful patterns in its body. The patterns closely resemble the bright colors and patterns in the wings of a butterfly. The Ornate Butterflyfish is truly stunning.

This peaceful fish is widely found all over the world, both in the wild and with a good distribution of the fish found in the aquarium. These aquarium fishes increase the beauty of the house wherever they are seen and are tremendously beautiful to look at.

This Ornate Butterflyfish, Chaetodon ornatissimus, has various names. The species is called by the names Clown Butterfly, Clown Butterflyfish, Coralfish, Ornate Butterfly, Ornate Coralfish, and Ornatissimus Butterfly.

This species of small, flat-shaped fishes is known for the numerous spots on the tail of the fishes that resembles many eyes. These spots are present to confuse predators about the fish's direction of fleeing when attacked.

Read on to discover this beautiful fish. There are other fishes too are seen living in these waters, where three-quarters of the world's species reside. Species like Longhorn Cowfish and Salmon are also interesting to read about when you're done here.

Ornate Butterflyfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is an Ornate Butterflyfish?

The Ornate Butterflyfish is a species of fish found in the Indo-pacific region.

What class of animal does an Ornate Butterflyfish belong to?

The Ornate Butterflyfish, Chaetodon ornatissimus, falls under the class of Actinopterygii in the genus Chaetodon in the kingdom of Animalia.

How many Ornate Butterflyfishes are there in the world?

As the accurate measurement of these coral fishes is unknown to us, we can only estimate that the population of the fish is not in danger currently. They are thriving in the corals and are found abundant in the aquarium picture in most homes.

Where does an Ornate Butterflyfish live?

The range of the coral fish species is from Sri Lanka, Hawaii, the Marquesas, the Pitcairn Islands, North, and Southern Japan, south to Lord Howe, and Rapa in the Austral Islands. The origin of the fish can also be found in the East Indian Ocean, West Indian Ocean, Australia, Japan, Indonesia, East Pacific, and Central/West Pacific.

What is an Ornate Butterflyfish's habitat?

The Ornate Butterflyfish is found widespread in the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region. Around 75% of the species of fish found in the world are found in this area.

They need a habitat that is marine, inshore, tropical, and reef-associated. They are also found single or in pairs over seaward reefs rich in coral and clear water lagoons. The species is usually found in a depth of 1-36 m in the ocean.

Widespread distribution of this species can also be found in the home as a centerpiece of the aquarium. Although to keep them in the aquarium, the size needs to be big as these species of coral reef fish love swimming.

Who do Ornate Butterflyfish live with?

The species usually live singly or in pairs. During the breeding season, the single ones search for the females and form pairs to live forever together.

How long does an Ornate Butterflyfish live?

The average life of butterflyfishes ranges from five to seven years in the wild.

How do they reproduce?

This species is a pair-forming coral reef fish. They are known to search for their perfect partners and mates for life. Tropical spawning of the coral reef fishes happens in winter and early spring.

Temperate spawning happens in mid of summer. Depending on each biome, this spawning time changes. Females of the genus Chaetodon lays around 200 eggs.

The spawning is usually seen at dusk during which eggs are released and fertilized in the water columns. The reproduction system is the same for both the wild and aquarium life. Juveniles of the species are found in the arms of branching corals living alone.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this coral reef species has been kept as Least Concern. But there has been a population decline in the last few years due to the loss of habitat for this species.

Ornate Butterflyfish Fun Facts

What do Ornate Butterflyfish look like?

The Ornate Butterflyfish is very easily recognizable by its vivid bright colors on the body. The color patterns on the body of this coral reef fish are different from most and easily distinguishable. It has six oblique orange-to-orange-brown bands on the body.

The fish also has black and yellow bars on the head. One of these yellow-edged black bars runs across the eyes and the other is on the snout.

Two black bars are present on the tails. There is a triangular mark between the eyes that is grayish. The males and females are indistinguishable from each other.

Underwater view of an oval butterflyfish around corals.

*Please note this image is of an Oval Butterflyfish that belongs to the same family as the Ornate Butterflyfish. If you have a royalty-free image of an Ornate Butterflyfish please let us know at

How cute are they?

These fishes are beautiful to look at and elevate the look of your home. They are easily a centerpiece fish species.

How do they communicate?

The Ornate Butterflyfish are known to communicate by moving their tails and fins and also by a sound that is so low-pitched that it cannot be comprehended by humans.

How big is an Ornate Butterflyfish?

The Ornate Butterflyfish grows up to a length ranging from 5.1-7 in (13-18 cm). The maximum length found for an adult butterflyfish is 8 in.

How fast can an Ornate Butterflyfish swim?

Due to the swimming technique and faster work rate of the fish, these species are known to be pretty quick swimmers. The actual speed of the Ornate Butterflyfish is unknown, but like the parrotfishes, the butterflyfishes too swim by rowing strokes of their pectoral fins.

The tail fin present is used as a rudder for balance and direction. This helps the species to flee bigger predators through their rapid movement.

How much does an Ornate Butterflyfish weigh?

The weight of the butterflyfish ranges from 0.04-0.17 lb (20-80 g). All the species of this genus weigh almost the same.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female sexes of the species are not given different names. The coral reef fishes are known by their scientific name and by Ornate Butterflyfishes.

What would you call a baby Ornate Butterflyfish?

The babies are called juveniles.

What do they eat?

The feeding of the species is normally the live coral and coral polyps. With most of the species living in the coral reefs of the world, this fish is epidemic in the Indo-Pacific region.

One of the uncommon facts about Ornate Butterflyfish is that they have very fine hairlike teeth that let them eat small organisms which normal fishes cannot reach.

Are they poisonous?

These species are not poisonous.

Would they make a good pet?

Ornate Butterflyfish are kept as pets in a lot of aquariums and the need for care for the species is not high maintenance but not low either. They are a very peaceful species, so they make great pets.

Did you know...

The Pearlscale Butterflyfish is not considered reef safe. The diet of this fish should include frozen food, fresh, or flake food.

The Ornate Butterflyfish's diet includes 10 different coral species. They feed on the broadest range of corals in comparison to other butterflyfishes.

There are at least 114 species of butterflyfishes in the world living in tropical waters and reefs.

The species of butterflyfishes are not used for food, but they have made a big name in the aquarium trade.

Are Butterflyfish edible?

Most of the butterflyfishes are edible. Few of the species might have toxins, so that should be kept in mind. Humans sometimes eat butterflyfishes, but they are not generally harvested for food.

Do they bite?

These species are peaceful and not known to bite. But while breeding, they might get aggressive and bite occasionally.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including fluke fish and milkfish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our butterfly fish coloring pages.


Get directions
We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You


See All

Written by Ritwik Bhuyan

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English

Ritwik Bhuyan picture

Ritwik BhuyanBachelor of Arts specializing in English

A skilled content writer, Ritwik holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Delhi University. He has refined his writing abilities through his past experience at PenVelope and his current role at Kidadl. In addition to his proficiency in writing, Ritwik has pursued his passion for flying by achieving CPL training and becoming a licensed commercial pilot. This diverse skill set highlights his commitment to exploring multiple fields. Ritwik's experience in the aviation industry has provided him with a unique perspective and attention to detail, which he brings to his writing.

Read full bio >
Fact-checked by Chandan Shukla

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Chandan Shukla picture

Chandan ShuklaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

With a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Aryabhatta College, University of Delhi, Chandan is a skilled and passionate technophile. He has completed a machine learning training program and is adept in various programming languages. He has been working as a content writer for two years while also striving to become a proficient tech professional.

Read full bio >