The vagabond butterflyfish is identifiable by its complex colour pattern. Vertical black bands run across its eyes and between its tail and body. Eight thin, black stripes run from its dorsal fin to its face, and fourteen more stripes intercept these from its sides.

It is visually similar to the closely related threadfin butterflyfish, but lacks the eyespot and dorsal fin filament.

Vagabond butterflyfish inhabit lagoons, reefs and river mouths across Africa’s east coast, the Red Sea and Japan.

These butterflyfish form monogamous pairs that defend their feeding territory. Together the duo search for worms, algae and crustaceans to supplement their omnivorous diet.

IUCN status is Least Concern with stable populations.


Species Facts

  • Also known as criss-cross butterflyfish or vagabond coralfish.
  • Grows up to 23cm long.