Butterfly fish eat small invertebrates such as sponges and worms, while some species also feed on coral polyps, algae, and plankton.
Butterfly fish can be found in the coral reefs of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans.
Butterfly fish have a protruding mouth and comb like teeth that help them feed in crevices.
Baby butterfly fish are very small and vulnerable, so they develop armour plates until they are older and stronger.
Butterfly fish have flattened disk-shaped bodies, round tails, uninterrupted dorsal fins and are named after butterflies due to their vibrant and varied colours. They can be a mixture of colours including black, orange, yellow, red, silver and white in colour, with different kind of spots and patterns on their body.
The unique appearance of the Butterfly fish is a great way for them to ward off predators. Many Butterfly fish have a black stripe through their eyes which is used to conceal them, along with a fake eye spot near the tail. This confuses predators as they are unable to tell which end of the fish is the head or the tail.
Butterfly fish will also communicate via sound, this is used to ward off members of the same species and help pairs of butterfly fish communicate with each other. In particular, the butterfly fish that feed on coral polyps will swim together and work in pairs – with the male defending the pair’s territory allowing the females to feed.
The barber fish (which is a tropical eastern pacific butterfly fish) is a particularly useful fish to fellow sea life. The fish cleans other fishes of their parasites and will even do this for sharks and mantas!