Mertens' Butterflyfish, Chaetodon mertensii Cuvier 1831

Other Names: Atoll Butterflyfish, Keel-finned Butterfly-fish, Merten's Butterflyfish, Merten's Coralfish, Orangebar Butterflyfish

Mertens' Butterflyfish, Chaetodon mertensii, in Fiji. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike

A whitish butterfly fish with dark grey chevron-shaped bars on the sides, a broad bright yellow to yellowish-orange bar across the rear of the body, a black bar through the eye, and a large dark smudge on the forehead.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Chaetodon mertensii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2024,

Mertens' Butterflyfish, Chaetodon mertensii Cuvier 1831

More Info


Known in the Australian region from the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, and reefs in the Coral Sea, to at least Sydney, New South Wales; also the Lord Howe region and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, western-central Pacific, including the Kermadecs, New Zealand. Inhabits deeper lagoons and seaward reefs.


Omnivore - feeds on algae and benthic invertebrates including coral polyps.


Frequently collected in parts of its range for the aquarium industry.

Species Citation

Chaetodon mertensii Cuvier, 1831, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 7: 47. Type locality: unknown.


Bray, D.J. 2018


Australian Faunal Directory

Mertens' Butterflyfish, Chaetodon mertensii Cuvier 1831


Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2

Allen, G. & Myers, R. 2010. Chaetodon mertensii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. . Downloaded on 15 August 2015.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R. & Allen, M. 1998. A Guide to Angelfishes & Butterflyfishes. Cairns : Odyssey Publishing/Tropical Reef Research 250 pp. figs.

Allen, G., Steene, R., Humann, P. & DeLoach, N. 2003. Reef Fish Identification - Tropical Pacific. Florida, New World Publications, Inc. 480 pp.

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

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1831. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 7 531 pp. pls 170-208.

Findley, J.S. & Findley, M.T. 2001. Global, regional, and local patterns in species richness and abundance of butterflyfishes. Ecological Monographs7(1): 69-91.

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93 in Hutchings, P. (ed.) Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 pp.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

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

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Kuiter, R.H. 2002. Butterflyfishes, Bannerfishes and their Relatives. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 208 pp.

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

Oxley, W.G., Ayling, A.M., Cheal, A.J. & Osborne, K. 2004. Marine surveys undertaken in the Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs Marine National Nature Reserve, December 2003. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Sciences 64 pp.

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. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 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.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 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:37365044

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Fishing:10-120 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:12.5 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map