Threadfin Butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga Forsskål 1775

Other Names: Thread-fin Butterfly-fish, Threadfin Coralfish

A Threadfin Butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga, in Fiji. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike


A white butterflyfish with `chevron' markings on the sides, a conspicuous black 'eye-spot' on the rear of the dorsal fin, a prominent vertical black band through the eye, bright yellow fins and a trailing filament on the dorsal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Chaetodon auriga in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2024,

Threadfin Butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga Forsskål 1775

More Info


A widespread butterflyfish occurring from the Red Sea and western Indian Ocean to French Polynesia and Hawai'i.


Individuals in the Red Sea lack a conspicuous ‘eye-spot’ on the dorsal fin.


The specific name is from the Latin auriga (= charioteer, coachman), in reference to the trailing filamentous extension on the soft dorsal fin of adults, that resembles a coachman’s whip.


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Threadfin Butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga Forsskål 1775


Booth, D.J. & Parkinson, K. 2011. Pelagic larval duration is similar across 23° of latitude for two species of butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae) in eastern Australia. Coral Reefs 30: 1071–1075.

Burgess, W.E. 1978. Butterflyfishes of the World. New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications Inc. 832 pp. figs.

DiBattista, J.D., Waldrop, E., Rocha, L.A., Craig, M.T., Berumen, M.L. & Bowen, B.W. (2015) Blinded by the bright: a lack of congruence between colour morphs, phylogeography and taxonomy for a cosmopolitan Indo-Pacific butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga. Journal of Biogeography. doi: 10.1111/jbi.12572

Forsskål, P. 1775. Descriptiones animalium avium, amphibiorum, piscium, insectorum, vermium; quae in itinere orientali observavit Petrus Forskål. Post mortem auctoris edidit Carsten Niebuhr. Adjuncta est materia medica kahirina atque tabula maris rubri geographica. Hauniae [=Copenhagen] : Mölleri 19 xxxiv 164 pp.

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Marshall, T.C. 1964. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coastal Waters of Queensland. Sydney : Angus & Robertson 566 pp. 136 pls.

Pyle, R. 2001. Chaetodontidae, Pomacanthidae. pp. 3224-3286 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 5 2791-3379 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Steene, R.C. 1978. Butterfly and Angelfishes of the World. Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed Vol. 1 144 pp. 216 figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37365019

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:23 cm TL

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