Vagabond Butterflyfish, Chaetodon vagabundus Linnaeus 1758

Other Names: Crisscross Butterflyfish, Criss-cross Butterfly-fish, Vagabond Butterfly-fish, Vagabond Coralfish, Vagabond's Butterflyfish

A Vagabond Butterflyfish, Chaetodon vagabundus, at Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC By Attribution

A butterflyfish two series of narrow dark oblique lines set at right angles to each other (chevron pattern) on a whitish background. The Vagabond Butterflyfish also has a broad black band through the eye, a second band through the caudal peduncle, a third through the middle of the caudal fin, and fine orange stripes across the forehead. Juveniles also have a black spot at the rear of the dorsal fin.

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Dianne J. Bray, Chaetodon vagabundus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jul 2024,

Vagabond Butterflyfish, Chaetodon vagabundus Linnaeus 1758

More Info


From reefs in the Kimberley region, Rowley Shoals and Scott Reef , Western Australia, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and Ashmore Reef in the Coral Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to central New South Wales with juveniles as far south as Merimbula. It also occurs in the Lord Howe Island Province in the Tasman Sea.
Elsewhere, the Vagabond Butterflyfish is widespread and often abundant in the Indo-west-central Pacific. It inhabits reef areas including inner coastal reef flats, lagoons, and outer seaward reef slopes. It tolerates a range of environmental conditions, including turbid waters and freshwater influxes near stream mouths.


Dorsal fin XIII, 23-15; Anal fin III, 19-22; pectroal fin 14-15; Lateral line scales 34-40.


Feeds on benthic invertebrates including anemones, coral polyps, polychaete worms, and on algae.


Synonyms of Chaetodon vagabundus:
Chaetodon mesogallicus Cuvier, 1829Chaetodon nesogallicus Cuvier, 1829Chaetodon pictus Forsskål, 1775Chaetodon setifer hawaiiensis Borodin, 1930Chaetodon vagabundus pictus Forsskål, 1775Tetragonoptrus nesogallicus (Cuvier, 1829)Tetragonoptrus vagabundus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Species Citation

Chaetodon vagabundus Linnaeus, 1758, Systema Naturae 1: 276. Type locality: Indies.


Dianne J. Bray

Vagabond Butterflyfish, Chaetodon vagabundus Linnaeus 1758


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37365062

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-30 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:23 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map