Dark Butterflyfish


Name: Dark Butterflyfish

Local name: Rageehabonnyya

Scientific name: Chaetodon nigropunctatus

Classification: Class: ray-finned fishes; Order: perch-likes; Family: butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae)

Synonym: Chaetodon obscurus

Size: It attains a total length of 14 cm.


This species inhabits coral-rich areas from 3 m to 15 m depth, where it lives as solitary individuals, in pairs, and occasionally forms aggregations. It feeds at least partly on coral polyps. It is oviparous and forms pairs during breeding.


This species is endemic to the north-western Indian Ocean, occurring only in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Gulf.

Conservation status:

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species classifies the Dark Butterflyfish as Least Concern (LC) in its global assessment, but Vulnerable (VU) in the regional assessment for the Arabian Gulf. The species is not targeted in fisheries, but important for the aquarium trade.


The body is deep, ovate, and compressed. The small mouth with numerous brush-like teeth is terminal. The caudal fin is truncate or slightly rounded. Most of the head and the body are yellowish brown with a blackish spot on each scale. The head anterior to the eye is white. The dorsal and anal fins have a black border, and the caudal fin is brown with a narrow submarginal white band. In juveniles, a vertical black band extends from the nape across the eye to below the opercle.