Rainford's Butterflyfish, Chaetodon rainfordi McCulloch 1923

Other Names: Northern Butterflyfish, Northern Butterfly-fish, Rainford's Butterfly-fish, Rainford's Coralfish

Rainford's Butterflyfish, Chaetodon rainfordi, at Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Mark Sheperd / Lizard Island Field Guide, http://lifg.australianmuseum.net.au/. License: CC By Attribution

A yellow butterflyfish with two broad bluish-grey bands with yellowish-orange margins on the body, an orange bar through the eye, and a narrow orange bar through the pectoral-fin based.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Chaetodon rainfordi in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2397

Rainford's Butterflyfish, Chaetodon rainfordi McCulloch 1923

More Info


Northern Great Barrier Reef , Queensland to the Solitary Islands and Surgeons Reef, off Red Rock, New South Wales; also at Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. The species also occurs in southern Papua New Guinea.
Individuals or pairs inhabit coastal and offshore reefs with sparse coral growth at depths of 1-15 m. Juveniles recruit into live branching corals.


Dorsal fin X-XI, 20-22; Anal fin III, 17-19; Pectoral fin 14-15; Lateral line scales 37-43.


Feeds exclusively on coral polyps.


Although occasionally traded in the aquarium industry, Rainford's Butterflyfish is difficult to maintain in captivity because it feeds only on live corals.


Coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef has affected populations of this obligate corallivore which relies on live corals for food and recruitment.


Chaetodon rainfordi may hybridise with the Goldstripe Butterflyfish, Chaetodon aureofasciatus.

Species Citation

Chaetodon rainfordi McCulloch, 1923, Rec. Aust. Mus. 14(1): 4. Type locality: Holbourne Island, off Port Denison, Queensland.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Australian Faunal Directory

Rainford's Butterflyfish, Chaetodon rainfordi McCulloch 1923


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37365053

Conservation:IUCN Near Threatened

Depth:1-20 m

Feeding:Coral polyps only

Fishing:Aquarium fish (rare)

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:15 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map