Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Chaetodon capistratus, Foureye Butterflyfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

cream + thin chevron lines
large ocellus under end D
juv: 3 bars, extra ocellus on soft D

Chaetodon capistratus Linnaeus, 1758

Foureye Butterflyfish

Body a strongly compressed oval disc; mouth small, at end of a short, pointed snout; cheek bone free and smooth; teeth long and slender, in bands of 6-7 rows on each jaw; dorsal fin with XIII (front spines not elongated), 18-20; anal fin III, 16-17, 2nd anal spine longer than 3rd; rear edges of dorsal and anal fins bluntly angular; tail edge 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), with 35-41 scales; with a large "axillary process" scale at the upper base of the pelvic fins.

Adult: Pale yellow; a grey bar from nape to chest through eye; thin black chevron lines from top to bottom of body; a large black centered, white ringed ocellus under rear of soft dorsal; soft dorsal and anal fins with 2 thin black stripes; tail fin with 2 thin black bars. Juvenile: yellowish; a black bar through eye; a grey bar from spiny dorsal to base of pelvics; a grey bar from soft dorsal down to anal base; 2 black ocelli, 1 on soft dorsal, 1 below on body.

Reaches 15 cm.

Lives on reefs, but juveniles in mangroves and seagrass beds.

Depth range: 0-130 m.

The Carolinas to the S Caribbean.

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  • Brackish
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Rocks
  • Sea anemones
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Corals
  • Mangrove
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Corallivore
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Soft corals/hydroids
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Zooplankton
  • Hard corals
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Sessile worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 15
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 130