Butterfly fish have always captivated me because they are very colourful and they are clever. Even though, they are very delicate but have a special bag of tricks that help them to survive. They display very strong pair bonding and work as a team. If one spots danger , it alerts the other. When trying to photograph them, you are behaving in a similar way to a predator. You get an insight into how they react to keep a safe distance. The team work works perfectly. They are very difficult to appraoch. If separated, Butterfly fish go into a state of stress and quickly try to reunite. They are thought to mate for life. Most of them have a false eye at the back. This helps them to survive attacks. Predators usually strike for the head . The split second that the predator loses in the confusion of the hunt, gives the Butterflyfish enought time to escape. They have fantastic reflexes, excellent eyesight and cryptic colouration. Many of them have a band of colour throught their eye to further confuse predators.

All of these features give them a geat chance to survive.

Threadfin butterflyfish Triangulum butterflyfish
Threadfin Butterflyfish, Chaetodon auriga. The false eyespot will get the attention of a predator. Even if the predator manages to hit the false eye spot, the butterfly fish has a pretty good chance of escaping. Any damage done will not be as bad as a strike to the head. This is a very effective defence . Chaetodon trifacialis, the chevroned butterflyfish. Note the black band through the eye. This helps to confuse predators, especially in poor light.
Lemon Butterflyfish Gunthers butterflyfish
C. citronella, the lemon butterflyfish has a great distribution. It is common in the tropics and down to the mid North coast of NSW. Gunther's Chaetodon, the most common NSW species of butterflyfish. They are one of the butterflyfish that swim in schools of 20 to 30 fish. You sometimes see them in groupsvoraciously feeding on Damselfish eggs.