Spotnape Butterflyfish, Chaetodon oxycephalus Bleeker 1853

Other Names: Pig-face Butterflyfish, Spot-nape Butterflyfish, Spot-naped Butterflyfish

A Spotnape Butterflyfish, Chaetodon oxycephalus, at Pemuteran, Bali, Indonesia. Source: Bernard E. Picton / Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY Attribution-ShareAlike


A whitish butterflyfish with narrow black vertical lines on the side, a large oblique black blotch across the upper rear part of the body, a broad black eye bar, a large black spot on the forehead, and bright yellow dorsal, anal and caudal fins.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Chaetodon oxycephalus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2024,

Spotnape Butterflyfish, Chaetodon oxycephalus Bleeker 1853

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Scott Reef, Western Australia, and the northern Great Barrier Reef. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean from Sri Lanka to the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland and north to the Philippines.
The Spotnape Butterflyfish usually inhabits coral-rich areas on coastal and seaward reefs.


Feeds mainly on coral polyps and anemones. 


Forms pairs during the breeding season.


Sometimes collected for the aquarium industry.

Similar Species

Differs from Chaetodon lineolatus in having a large black spot on the forehead.

Species Citation

Chaetodon oxycephalus Bleeker 1853, Nat. Tijdsch. Neder. Indiƫ 4: 603.Type locality: Ternate, Moluccas, Indonesia.


Dianne J. Bray


Australian Faunal Directory

Spotnape Butterflyfish, Chaetodon oxycephalus Bleeker 1853


Allen, G.R. 1980. Butterfly and Angelfishes of the World. New York : John Wiley & Sons Vol. 2 pp. 149-352 figs 214-510.

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

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

Allen, G. & Myers, R. 2010. Chaetodon oxycephalus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. . Downloaded on 16 August 2015.

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

Bleeker, P. 1853. Nieuwe bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Ternate en Halmaheira (Gilolo). Natuurwetenschappelijk Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indiƫ 4: 595-610.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to sea fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp.

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

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37365048

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:10-40 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:25 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map