Margined Coralfish, Chelmon marginalis Richardson 1842

Other Names: Margined Coral Fish, Western Beaked Butterflyfish, Willemawillum

Margined Coralfish, Chelmon marginalis, at Enderby Island, Dampier Marine Park, Western Australia. Source: Graham Edgar / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A stunning silvery white butterflyfish with two narrow orange bars on the head and anterior body, and a broad yellowish or yellowish-orange band near the tail base. Adults lack a false eyespot or ocellus on the dorsal fin.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Chelmon marginalis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 10 Jul 2020,

Margined Coralfish, Chelmon marginalis Richardson 1842

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Endemic to northern Australia from the Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia, to Home Island, northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. 

Inhabits coastal coral and rocky reefs and nearshore islands.


Carnivore - feeds on benthic invertebrates such as crabs, shrimps, polychaete worms.


IUCN Red List of threatened species: Least Concern

Species Citation

Chelmon marginalis Richardson, 1842, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. ns 9(55): 28. Type locality: Port Essington, NT.


Dianne J. Bray

Margined Coralfish, Chelmon marginalis Richardson 1842


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. 1985. Fishes of Western Australia. Book 9. 2207-2534 526 pls in Burgess, W.E. & Axelrod, H.R. (eds). Pacific Marine Fishes. Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications.

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

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

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Blaber, S.J.M., D.T. Brewer & A.N. Harris. 1994. Distribution, biomass and community structure of demersal fishes of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 45(3): 375-396.

Blaber, S.J.M., J.W. Young & M.C. Dunning. 1985. Community structure and zoogeographic affinities of the coastal fishes of the Dampier region of north-western Australia. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 36: 247-266.

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

Coleman, N. 1974. Australian Marine Fishes in Colour. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reid 108 pp.

Coleman, N. 1981. Australian Sea Fishes North of 30°S. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 297 pp.

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.

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp.

Myers, R. & Pratchett, M. 2010. Chelmon marginalis. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. . Downloaded on 03 January 2014.

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.

Richardson, J. 1842. Contributions to the ichthyology of Australia. Annals and Magazine of Natural History ns 9(55): 15-31.

Richardson, J.   1846 [ref. 3743]Descriptions of six fish. Pp. 484-497, Pls. 1-4. In: J. L. Stokes, vol. 1, Appendix. Discoveries in Australia with an account of the coasts and rivers explored and surveyed during the voyage of H. M. S. Beagle, in the years 1837-38-39-40-41-41-42-43. By command of the Lords Commissioners of the Admirality. Also a narrative ... islands in the Arafura Sea. London. T. and W. Boone, London. xii + 521 pp., Pls.

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

Smith, W.L., J.F. Webb & S.D. Blum. 2003. The evolution of the laterophysic connection with a revised phylogeny and taxonomy of butterflyfishes (Teleostei: Chaetodontidae). Cladistics 19: 287-306.

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:37365007

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-30 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:18 cm TL


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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map