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Tropical Diver presented by Southwest

Longnose butterflyfish

Longnose butterflyfish

(Forcipiger flavissimus)

The longnose butterflyfish is found in the Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea and East Africa to the Hawaiian Islands and Easter Island. It also occurs in parts of the tropical eastern Pacific. This butterflyfish is most common on exposed seaward reefs, but also may be encountered on lagoon reefs to depths of 374 feet.

This butterflyfish can be easily recognized by its yellow, black and white color pattern and its distinctive, long snout. It is sometimes called the “forceps butterflyfish”. Adults can reach lengths of almost 9 inches.

See if you can pick out the longnose butterflyfish in the Tropical Diver gallery.

Fun Facts

  • The longnose butterflyfish feeds on hydroids, fish eggs and small crustaceans.
  • It is known to nip off the tube feet of urchins and sea stars.
  • The adults are usually found in pairs, particularly during breeding, but also may be seen swimming alone or in small groups.
  • Butterflyfish as a group have an elaborate courtship ritual. Spawning occurs near the ocean surface.
  • Fertilized eggs hatch in about 24 hours and the larvae drift as plankton for three to six weeks.
  • Download full fact sheet

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