Fun Lined Butterflyfish Facts For Kids

Shirin Biswas
Oct 26, 2022 By Shirin Biswas
Originally Published on Aug 17, 2021
Edited by Katherine Cook
Fact-checked by Kidadl Team
Here are some lined butterflyfish facts that cover everything from its diet to its butterfly-like appearance.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.2 Min

The lined butterflyfish (Chaetodon lineolatus) is a rather beautiful marine animal. The distribution of this animal is found in places such as northern Australia, Tanzania, Lord Howe Island and as far east as south Japan.

These fishes are characterized by the black colored vertical lines on their blue colored body, and a beautiful color palette of blue, black, yellow, and white which resembles a butterfly. The behavior of these fishes pose no such threat to other fishes or humans, although, the rigidity of their diet does not allow them to be an ideal pet. They depend upon small invertebrates, coral reef, and anemones for their food, and so feeding them in an aquarium can be quite a hassle.

For more relatable content, check out these meagre fish facts and rockfish facts for kids.

Lined Butterflyfish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a lined butterflyfish?

The lined butterflyfish is a type of fish!

What class of animal does a lined butterflyfish belong to?

If you want to stick to the scientific class name, the word you are looking for is Actinopterygii. However, if that is as much of a tongue-twister for you as it is for us, you'll be glad to know that the class that this animal is popularly classified in is fish.

How many lined butterflyfish are there in the world?

There are no conclusive studies or evidence that tell us the exact population of this beautiful tropical fish species since the range of their habitat is so large and they breed in such huge numbers.

Where does a lined butterflyfish live?

The lined butterflyfish is usually found in coral rich areas. This species is bottom-dwelling and feeds on coral reefs at the bottom of the water body.

What is a lined butterflyfish's habitat?

The range of the lined butterflyfish living location is pretty extended. These fishes are found in the Red Sea, the Great Barrier Reef, northern Australia, southern Japan, Tasmania, South Africa, Lord Howe Island, the Indo-Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Timor Sea, and the Mozambique Channel. This fish species is known to prefer tropical waters and since it is a free swimmer, the minimum aquarium size require to keep this fish is also fairly large.

Who do lined butterflyfish live with?

In its natural habitat, the lined butterflyfish is usually found alone or in pairs. These fishes are also somewhat territorial since they are so selective of their choice of food. When in an aquarium or tank, it is best to keep only one of these fishes to ensure that no aggressive behavior is triggered.

How long does a lined butterflyfish live?

The average life-span of the lined butterflyfish is of around 10 years.

How do they reproduce?

Mating in lined butterflyfishes is carried out through spawning. While the rituals before mating are not known, it is known that the female lays her eggs before they are fertilized by the male. The eggs hatch in as little as a day and remain in a pelagic stage for quite some time.

Neither parent lined butterflyfishes take up many parental responsibilities in terms of feeding or incubating.

What is their conservation status?

According to the IUCN, the conservation status of the lined butterflyfish is Least Concern. This means that the population of this species is not likely to see a dip in the near future and the range of habitat that witnesses most of their distribution is not likely to face any degradation.

Lined Butterflyfish Fun Facts

What do lined butterflyfish look like?

A description of the physical attributes of lined butterflyfishes (Chaetodon lineolatus) is fairly simple. They have a blue colored body with black colored vertical lines that run throughout. The tail fins, dorsal fins, and anal fins are yellow in color and there is a black band right before the beginning of the anal fin. There also is a black colored band that runs across the eyes of these fishes, and the snout region is mostly white or blue. The black band ends in a yellow one that gives these fishes the most distinct look. These fishes of the genus Chaetodon also have white colored pectoral fins, and small, sharp teeth.

These fish are mostly found in pairs, feeding on anemones.

How cute are they?

It is hardly a secret at this point that this reef and anemone-eating species of fish is extremely cute. Lined butterflyfish colors are vibrant and the pattern formed by the lines on their bodies are glamorous. These fishes have features that remind us of the very popular French angelfish, coralfish and altum angelfish.

How do they communicate?

There is no evidence or studies that tell us how this gorgeous fish species or its juvenile communicate with one another.

How big is a lined butterflyfish?

The maximum length that the lined butterflyfish (Chaetodon lineolatus) of the genus Chaetodon can reach is about 12 in (30 cm). It is a rather large fish that would require a considerable aquarium size to be able to survive happily.  Another butterflyfish which also takes first place as one of the biggest butterflyfish is the saddle butterflyfish which measures 12 in (30 cm) in length.

In comparison, the olive flounder is more than thrice as big as this species, and a lined butterflyfish can be nine times as big as a black rhantom tetra fish.

How fast can a lined butterflyfish swim?

While we do not know exactly how fast these eaters of corals and algae can swim, what we do know is that they are quite fast and they require an aquarium that is large, if not as big as their marine habitat.

How much does a lined butterflyfish weigh?

The average lined butterflyfish weight is not known. However, the average weight of the family Chaetodontidae is around 0.7-2.8 oz (20-80 g).

What are the male and female names of the species?

There are no distinct names for male and female lined butterflyfish, just like there are no differences in their physical appearance or coral polyps and algae-rich diet. We can refer to them as a male lined butterflyfish and a female lined butterflyfish.

What would you call a baby lined butterflyfish?

The juvenile of this species (Chaetodon lineolatus) are called fry which is the same name as all other baby fish of the class Actinopterygii.

What do they eat?

The chief food for this species of fishes is corals and anemones. They feed on coral polyps, algae, small invertebrates, and certain crustaceans. These fishes are therefore also very difficult to feed when in an aquarium.

Are they dangerous?

There is no evidence that would be sufficient to define the lined butterflyfish as poisonous, but at the same time, they are not known to be edible either. This species is not known to be dangerous for humans or other fish species. They are in fact prey to certain larger fishes such as eels and sharks.

Would they make a good pet?

It is rare to find a lined butterflyfish (Chaetodon lineolatus) in a domestic aquarium due to various reasons. Since they are so fond of swimming, the minimum aquarium or tank size required for keeping this species is 150 gal (567.8 l). Such a size is difficult to achieve in any domestic setting. They would also require to be kept in an aquarium that has a lot of hiding places, algae growth, and corals. They also feed on coral polyps which is something to keep in mind.

Since their choice of food is so rigid, to feed a lined butterflyfish is definitely a bit of a hassle. It would be very difficult for the pet parent to keep suitable foods handy in order make sure that these fishes survive.

Did you know...

The lined butterflyfish (Chaetodon lineolatus) is usually found in pairs, if not alone. Swimming around and looking for corals is an appropriate description of lined butterflyfish daily life.

The chief foods for this species consist mainly of coral reef, algae, anemones, and small invertebrates.

Feeding a pet lined butterflyfish (Chaetodon lineolatus) can be difficult since this species is pretty rigid about its food of choice. Any pet parent has to be particularly diligent of giving this fish species adequate foods at regular intervals in order to make sure that the fish survives, since it is observed that these fishes stop eating if not given the right foods.

These fishes are found in north Australia, the Great Barrier Reef, and the Red Sea, and as far east as southern Japan.

The average life-span of a lined butterflyfish is of around 10 years.

What role do lined butterflyfish play in the ecosystem?

Lined butterflyfish and other members of the butterflyfish family such as the orange lined butterflyfish and the red lined butterflyfish, as well as other corallivorous species such as coralfish, pose a great threat to coral reefs. They inhibit the growth of these reefs and they can disturb the marine ecosystem in the long run.

Why are they called butterflyfish?

The family Chaetodontidae is called butterflyfish due to its colorful thin body which resembles a butterfly.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish from our spotted sunfish facts and black ghost knifefish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our free printable butterflyfish coloring pages.

Lined Butterflyfish Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Worms, small invertebrates, and clams

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?


What habitat Do they Live In?

oceans, domestic aquariums, and tanks

Where Do They Live?

tanzania, the red sea, gulf of carpentaria, coral sea, Indo-Pacific Ocean, the great barrier reef, and south africa

How Long Were They?

12 in (30 cm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Chaetodon lineolatus

What Do They Look Like?

Blue, yellow, white, and black

Skin Type

Wet, slimy scales

What Are Their Main Threats?

preadtors and habitat loss

What is their Conservation Status?

Least Concern
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Written by Shirin Biswas

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

Shirin Biswas picture

Shirin BiswasBachelor of Arts specializing in English Language and Literature

With a degree in English from Amity University, Noida, Shirin has won awards for oratory, acting, and creative writing. She has a wealth of experience as an English teacher, editor, and writer, having previously worked at Quizzy and Big Books Publishing. Her expertise lies in editing study guides for children and creating engaging content.

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