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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Indo-Pacific Reef Habitat (Tropical Diver)

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Indo-Pacific from the Red Sea and East Africa to the Hawaiian and Easter islands, north to southern Japan, south to Lord Howe Island and throughout Micronesia. Also inhabits the Eastern Pacific from Baja California, Mexico, to the Revillagigedo and Galapagos islands.
  • Found in exposed seaward reefs but also appears in lagoon reefs at depths to 476 feet (145 m).

Physical Characteristics

  • Bright yellow body with a head that is black on top and silvery-white below. This species has a long snout. 
  • Can reach lengths of 8.7 inches (22 cm).

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet consists of hydroids, fish eggs and small crustaceans. 
  • Prefers to eat the tube feet and pedicellaria of echinoderms or the tentacles of polychaetes.

Reproduction / Growth

  • Courtship ritual is elaborate:
    • Female and one or more males rapidly swim in tight circles and move up near the ocean surface to release eggs and sperm into the water.
    • Fertilized eggs hatch in the sea in about 24 hours.
    • Larvae drift as plankton for 3 to 8 weeks, depending on the species.
    • Young then seek shelter on shallow reefs, where they develop into adults.

Conservation Status

  • “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. 

Additional Information

  • Very similar in appearance to the big longnose butterflyfish (Forcipiger longirostris), a much less common species.
  • Most widely-distributed butterfly species.
  • Adult usually found in pairs, particularly during breeding, but may also be solitary or in small groups.


Micronesian Reef Fishes. Myers, R. F., pg. 298
A Guide to Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes. Allen, G. R.; Steene, R. and Allen, M.