Peppered Butterflyfish, Chaetodon guttatissimus Bennett 1833

Other Names: Gorgeous Gussy, Spotted Butterflyfish

A Peppered Butterflyfish, Chaetodon guttatissimus, in the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, February 2014. Source: cocos_karen / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A silvery white butterflyfish with irregular vertical rows of dusky spots or speckles on the side (rows horizontal on lower side), a narrow dark bar through the eye, an orange bar at the rear of the dorsal fin and upper caudal peduncle, a black submarginal band on the tail, and a yellow margin on the dorsal fin.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, A.S. 2020, Chaetodon guttatissimus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jun 2024,

Peppered Butterflyfish, Chaetodon guttatissimus Bennett 1833

More Info


Australian territories of Cocos (Keeling) Islands and Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the Indian Ocean: East Africa and South Africa, east to Christmas Island (Indian Ocean) and the Andaman Sea coast of Thailand. 
Individuals or pairs inhabit coral rich areas in lagoons and seaward reef slopes. 


Dorsal fin XII-XIII,22-24; Anal fin III, 16-18; Pectoral fin 13-14; Lateral line scales 34-43.
Body depth 1.4-1.8 in SL; snout length 2.8-4.0 in HL.


Feeds in live coral - most likely an obligate corallivore.


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


At the Australian Territory of Christmas Island, the Peppered Butterflyfish hybridises with the Spotbanded Butterflyfish, Chaetodon punctatofasciatus.


The specific name guttatissimus is from the Latin guttatus (= spotted, speckled) and -issimus (= very, highly) in reference to the close-set grey spots or speckles on sides.

Species Citation

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


Bray, D.J. & Thompson, A.S. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Peppered Butterflyfish, Chaetodon guttatissimus Bennett 1833


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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.

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. See ref at BHL

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Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S.J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Checklist and new records of Christmas Island fishes: the influence of isolation, biogeography and habitat availability on species abundance and community composition. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 184–202

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S .J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands: new records, community composition and biogeographic significance. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 203–219

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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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CAAB distribution map