The Weibeli Butterfly Fish is another of the great variety of fish that Koh Tao diving has to offer.
The butterfly fish are part of the Chaetodontidae family of fish that also include bannerfish and coralfish. The Weibeli Butterfly Fish look similar to angelfish but smaller and don’t have spines at the gill covers. The body is oval, deep and strongly compressed. The head length is similar to it’s head height, without prominent spines. The small protractile mouth has brush-like teeth in the jaws. The body is yellow but can appear darker and with diagonal brown stripes on the sides; a prominently broad black bar through eye with a white bar just behind it; a black isolated spot is on the forehead. The dorsal, caudal, anal and pelvic fins are yellow; vertical dark band on caudal fin equal in width to pupil diameter. They range in size from 12 to 22 cm in length. Small details that you learn to recognise as your diving experience grows, studying the fish identification course can really help you look for the small details that differentiate fish species.
Where can you find it
They are a fairly common sighting around the shallow dive sites here where they are normally found in pairs. Being active in day and in waters less than 18m deep. They can hide from predators by swimming between the rocks and corals. Seeing multiple pairs is a good indicator of a healthy reef. These can be found at Japanese Gardens, White Rock and Twins, normally in the shallow passed the no boat line.
What do they do
Butterfly fish family are pelagic or open water spawners, they release many buoyant eggs into the water which becomes part of the plankton, floating with the currents until they hatch into fish fry. They then go through a tholichthys stage where the body is covered in large bony plates extending from the head. As they grow older they lose these bony plates.
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