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Category: Under the Sea
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Masked Butterflyfish (Chaetodon semilarvatus)
Also known as Coralfishes, Blue-cheeked Butterflyfish, Blue-mask Butterflyfish, Golden Masked Butterflyfish, Golden Semilarvatus Butterflyfish, Red Sea Butterflyfish, Red Sea Golden Butterflyfish, Yellow Butterflyfish…
 
The story about Butterflyfish fits the most to our Valentine’s issue as adults spices usually live in regular pairs for many years or even for the whole life!
 
They are found usually hovering close or under Acropora Plate corals in lagoons and seaward reefs rich in madrepores, coral growth and sandy bottoms up to the depth of 20 meters. They are active during the day, at sunset or at night. On occasion the fish aggregate in huge and quite spectacular shoals which bring fish together for spawning.
 

They feed on benthic invertebrates, soft corals and polyps of hard corals.
Butterflyfish have very fine teeth that enable them to pick out small organisms inaccessible to most other fishes for eating. They thrive mainly on a diet of coral polyps, tentacles of Feather dusters and Christmas-tree worms. As these food sources all zap back into their shells, butterflyfishes need to be able to hover motionless while picking at the coral and to dart swiftly over short distances to get the worm before it retracts. They do this by using their Pectoral fins as oars to brake, sprint and turn or even reverse.
 
As an endemic species it is found only in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. It is one of the most regularly photographed fish in the region, as it allows divers to come quite close before it turns tail and swims away.  
 
 
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