Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Chaetodon lunula, Halfmoon Butterflyfish, Racoon Butterflyfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

head: black & white bars
shoulder: oblique bars
rear body - oblique stripes
C base: dark blotch
juv: rear D + ocellus

Chaetodon lunula (Lacepède, 1802)

Racoon Butterflyfish, Halfmoon Butterflyfish

Body a strongly compressed oval disc; mouth small, at end of a short (~ 2x eye), pointed snout; teeth long and slender; dorsal fin with XI-XIIII, 22-25; anal fin III, 17-19, 2nd spine longer than 3rd; rear edges of dorsal and anal fins bluntly angular; tail edge straight to rounded; scales rough, covering dorsal and anal fins as well as head and body; lateral line in a high arch, incomplete (ends under dorsal fin); 35-44 lateral line scales.

Body and fins bright yellow, shading to brown on upper back; a black bar from forehead through eye, with white bar immediately behind; an oblique black bar angled from upper edge of opercle to back of spiny dorsal; thin oblique brown lines on lower body; a black bar from soft dorsal onto tail base. Juvenile: yellow-brown body and fins except caudal transparent, with a dark bar near its base; head with yellow snout, a black bar through eye, a broad white bar behind that; a black blotch on body above pectoral fin; a black bar across end of tail base; a large round black spot ringed with yellow or white at end of dorsal fin.

Size: 20 cm.

Habitat: rocky and coral reefs.

Depth: 1-170 m.

Indo-Pacific; introduced to Florida.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Corallivore
  • Data
  • Omnivore
  • Data
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Hard corals
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Sessile worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent only
  • Exotic (Introduced)
  • GC non-endemic
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 20
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 170