Habitat and Ecology
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.
Depth range (m): 3 - 5
Temperature range (°C): 23.105 - 23.105
Nitrate (umol/L): 0.071 - 0.071
Salinity (PPS): 37.251 - 37.251
Oxygen (ml/l): 5.032 - 5.032
Phosphate (umol/l): 0.060 - 0.060
Silicate (umol/l): 0.936 - 0.936
Depth range (m): 3 - 5
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.
From 1 to 15 meters.
Habitat: reef-associated. Exquisite butterflyfish. Found in coral rich areas; juveniles confined to single coral heads (Ref. 9710). Territorial and usually in pairs. Mainly diurnal.
Life History and Behavior
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
While there have been no declines documented, this species is dependent on live coral cover, which may make it susceptible to habitat loss. However, it has a relatively wide distribution, apparently large population and no obvious major threats other than coral loss. It is listed as Least Concern.
It is generally common throughout the Red Sea, particularly in the Gulf of Aqaba and farther to the south off Jeddah and Port Sudan; populations are stable (Allen 1980, G.R. Allen pers. comm. 2006).
This species relies on live coral for food and/or recruitment, and may therefore decline in abundance following climate-induced coral depletion (Pratchett et al. 2008). Currently there has been no documented declines associated with coral loss, and there appear to be no other major threats to this species.
There appear to be no species-specific conservation measures in place. This species is present within marine protected areas. Monitoring of this species is needed in conjunction with coral monitoring, as well as determination of the degree of co-dependence between this species and corals.
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
The Black-tailed Butterflyfish (or blacktail butterflyfish), also called Exquisite Butterflyfish, is known as Chaetodon austriacus by its scientific name. This species of butterflyfish (family Chaetodontidae) is found in the Red Sea and around southern Oman only. Supposedly, a Black-tailed Butterflyfish was sighted in El Nido, Palawan (Philippines) by Dr. Gerry Allen during a fish identification project in July 2007.
The Black-tailed Butterflyfish is up to 14 cm long and is orange with thin, curved black stripes. Its anal fin and tail are black. The body of juveniles is whiter above with white bands on the tail. The Melon butterflyfish (C. trifasciatus) and the Oval butterflyfish (C. lunulatus) are similar in coloration but have less black on the caudal and anal fins.
Together with the Melon and Oval butterflyfishes and probably also the somewhat aberrant Arabian butterflyfish (C. melapterus) it makes up the subgenus Corallochaetodon. They are probably quite close to the subgenus called Citharoedus (that name is a junior homonym of a mollusc genus), which contains for example the Scrawled butterflyfish (C. meyeri). Like that group, they might be separated in Megaprotodon if the genus Chaetodon is split up.
Black-tailed butterflyfishes tend to be found in coral-rich areas between 0.5 and 20 m deep, on seaward reefs or in lagoons or bays. Adults are generally found in pairs patrolling a territory or range while juveniles are found among coral branches. This species grazes on coral polyps and sea anemone tentacles.
- Lieske & Myers (2004), FishBase (2008)
- Lieske & Myers (2004)
- Fessler & Westneat (2007), Hsu et al. (2007)
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- Fessler, Jennifer L. & Westneat, Mark W. (2007): Molecular phylogenetics of the butterflyfishes (Chaetodontidae): Taxonomy and biogeography of a global coral reef fish family. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 45(1): 50–68. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.05.018 (HTML abstract)
- FishBase : Chaetodon austriacus. Retrieved 2008-SEP-01.
- Hsu, Kui-Ching; Chen, Jeng-Ping & Shao, Kwang-Tsao (2007): Molecular phylogeny of Chaetodon (Teleostei: Chaetodontidae) in the Indo-West Pacific: evolution in geminate species pairs and species groups. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 14: 77-86. PDF fulltext
- Lieske, E. & Myers, R.F. (2004): Coral reef guide – Red Sea. HarperCollins, London. ISBN 0-00-715986-2