Peppered Butterflyfish, Chaetodon guttatissimus Bennett 1833

Other Names: Gorgeous Gussy, Spotted Butterflyfish

A Peppered Butterflyfish, Chaetodon guttatissimus, at Banda Aceh, Indonesia. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC By Attribution

A pale beige butterflyfish with irregular rows of brown to purplish spots or speckles along the sides, a dark bar through the eye, an orange bar on the caudal peduncle and a yellow margin on the dorsal fin.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray & Audrey S. Thompson, Chaetodon guttatissimus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 11 Jul 2020,

Peppered Butterflyfish, Chaetodon guttatissimus Bennett 1833

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Australian territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the Indian Ocean. Inhabits lagoons and seaward reef slopes. 


Feeds in live coral.


Although occasionally sold in the aquarium industry, the species is difficult to keep alive as it feeds on live coral.

Species Citation

Chaetodon guttatissimus Bennett, 1833, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1832(2): 183. Type locality: Sri Lanka (as Ceylon).


Dianne J. Bray & Audrey S. Thompson

Peppered Butterflyfish, Chaetodon guttatissimus Bennett 1833


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

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.

Bennett, E.T. 1833. Characters of new species of fishes from Ceylon. Proceedings of the General Meetings for Scientific Business of the Zoological Society of London 1832(2): 182-184.

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

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

Fessler, J.L. & Westneat, M.W. 2007. Molecular phylogenetics of the butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae): Taxonomy and biogeography of a global coral reef fish family. Molecular Phylogenetics & Evolution 45(1): 50–68. Abstract

Hsu, K-C., Chen, J-P. & Shao, K-T. 2007. Molecular phylogeny ofChaetodon (Teleostei: Chaetodontidae) in the Indo-West Pacific: evolution in geminate species pairs and species groups. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 14: 77-86. PDF

Pyle, R., Myers, R., Craig, M.T. & Pratchett, M. 2010. Chaetodon guttatissimus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. . Downloaded on 15 August 2015.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37365091

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:12 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map