Chaetodon trifasciatus   Park,  1797 (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights: Patzner, R.

Size: 15.0 cm TL (male)

Color: Pale brownish above, lighter below with 13-14 oblique dark lines on sides. Snout blackish, a black cross bar bordered by white from nape to isthmus and a narrow black band from below base of first 2 or 3 dorsal spines downward behind eye and to lower margin of preoperculum. Base of spinous dorsal with 6-7 narrow horizontal blackish lines. Soft dorsal with a broad black band basally bordered anteriorly by a broad yellowish band, a narrow median dark band and a submarginal dark band, other margin clear. Anal fin yellowish white with a broad black band basally and a narrow submarginal dark band, distal margin pale. Caudal somewhat pale yellowish with a broad blackish band in the middle, distal margin clear. Pectoral and ventral pale.

Head 3.4-3.5 in standard length, 4.1-4.3 in total length. Depth of body 1.6-1.7 in standard length, 1.9-2.0 in total length. Eye diameter 3.0-3.2 in head, slightly shorter than snout and equal to or slightly less than convex interorbital space. Preoperculum finely serrated. Dorsal fin spines increasing in length to 7th or 8th, these being longest, posterior spines slightly shorter. Second anal fin spine equal to or slightly longer than the third. Pectoral fin somewhat shorter than head; ventral fin shorter than pectoral. Lateral line somewhat convexly curved and ending below anterior third of soft dorsal fin.
Number of spines and rays in the dorsal fin: XIII, 21-23; number of spines and rays in the anal fin: III, 19-20; number of rays in the pectoral fin: 15; number of spines and rays in the ventral fin: I, 5; number of scale rows along the midside of body from the upper corner of operculum to the midbase of caudal fin in the absence of lateral line: 38-40; number of horizontal scale rows usually counted from origin of the dorsal fin to the lateral line and from anal origin to the lateral line: 5-6+14-15.

Oviparous, monogamous. Dioecious, external fertilization, nonguarders, open water/substratum egg scatterers. Paired spawning.

Territorial and aggressive to other Chaetodon.

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Chaetodon bellus Solander, 1839
(Junior synonym)
Chaetodon layardi Blyth, 1852
(Junior synonym)
Chaetodon lunulatus (non Quoy & Gaimard), 1824
(Misapplied name)
Chaetodon ovalis Thiolliere, 1857
(Junior synonym)
Chaetodon pepek Montrouzier, 1857
(Junior synonym)
Chaetodon taunigrum Cuvier, 1831
(Junior synonym)
Chaetodon trifasciatus Park, 1797
(Senior synonym)
Chaetodon trifasciatus caudifasciatus Ahl, 1923
(Junior synonym)
Chaetodon trifasciatus trifasciatus Park, 1797
(Senior synonym)
Chaetodon vittatus Bloch & Schneider, 1801
(Junior synonym)
Tetragonoptrus trifasciatus (Park, 1797)
(Senior synonym)
Tetragonoptrus vittatus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801)
(Junior synonym)
Chaetodon trifasciatus Mungo Park, 1797
Chaetodon vittatus Day, 1878
Chaetodon (Rhabdophorus) trifasciatus Weber and de Beaufort, 1936
Rhabdophorus trifasciatus Munro, 1955
Choetodon trifasciatus (Park, 1797)

Common Name (s)
• Melon Butterflyfish (English)
• Handupholimas (Mahl)
• Pakkikkadiya (Malayalam)
• Three-banded Coral-fish (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
(Fisheries, aquarium, Ornamental fish)

Habitat:  Reef Associated
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Coral polyps, particularly of the Pocillopora type


• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti Atoll (Lat: 10.55) (Long: 72.63) INDIA (Record: 01/1991-06/1992)
• Tamil Nadu, Chennai INDIA
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Amini INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Chettalatt INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kilttan INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA
• Red Sea
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, North Reef Island INDIA
• Palk Bay INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA (Record: 09/02/1987-25/02/1987)
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Camorta Island INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, South Reef Island INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Chidiya Tapu INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Mayabunder INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti Atoll INDIA (Record: 01/1991-06/1992)
• Lakshadweep, Chettalatt INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)
• Lakshadweep, Amini INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)
• Tamil Nadu, Mandapam INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Ohman, M; Rajasuriya, A and Olafsson, E (1997) Reef fish assemblages in north western Sri Lanka: Distribution patterns and influences of fishing practises Enviornmental Biology of Fishes Kluwer Academic Publishers 49 45-61
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp Available at -
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Anand, PEV and Pillai, NGK (2003) Habitat distribution and species diversity of coral reef fishes in the reefslope of the Kavaratti atoll, Lakshadweep, India Journal of the Marine Biological Association of India The Marine Biological Association of India, Cochin 45(1) 88-98 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Marine Biological Station, Chennai, Tamil Nadu (2003) Checklist of marine fauna of Tamil Nadu Department of Environment, Government of Tamil Nadu Available at -
  • Jones, S and Kumaran, M (1980) Fishes of the Laccadive Archipelago The Nature Conservation and Aquatic Sciences Service, Trivandrum, Kerala 760 pp Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Dr. Kumaraguru, AK (2000) Studies on socioeconomics of Coral Reef resource users in the Gulf of Mannar coast, South India Centre for Marine and Coastal studies School of Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Madurai Kamaraj University, Madurai, India Available at -
  • Rao, GC; Rao, DV and Devi, K (1994) A faunal exploration of the North Reef Island sanctuary, North Andaman Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 10(1&2) 68-81 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Jones, S. (1969) Catalogue of fishes from the Laccadive Archipelago in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 8 1-35 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (1996) Marine ornamental fishes of India Proceedings of the Seminar on Fisheries - A Multibillion Dollar Industry, Madras CMFRI 23-34 Available at -
  • Kumaran, M; Murty, VS and Lalmohan, RS (1989) Resources of ornamental fishes Marine living resources of the union territory of Lakshadweep: An indicative survey with suggestions for development Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI 43 46-64 Available at -
  • Rajan, PT; Rao, DV and Devi, K (1992) New records of butterflyfishes from Andaman and Nicobar Islands Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 8(2) 172-174 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Anand, PEV and Pillai, NGK (2004) Community organization of reef fishes in the live coral sub-habitat of Kavaratti atoll, Lakshadweep, India Indian Journal of Fisheries Indian Journal of Fisheries for the Indian Council of Agricultural Research 51(1) 87-95 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (2002) Marine ornamental fish resources of Lakshadweep CMFRI Special Publication CMFRI 72 1-134 Available at -
  • Murty, VS (1969) Catalogue of fishes (excluding from the Laccadives) in the reference collections of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute Bulletin of Central Marine Research Institute CMFRI, Cochin 10 1-38 Available at -
  • Varghese, M; Manisseri, MK; Ramamurthy, N; Geetha, PM; Thomas, VJ and Gandhi, A (2011) Coral reef fishes of Gulf of Mannar, S.E of India Fishing Chimes CMFRI 31(1) 38-40 Available at - NIO, Goa
  • Murty, VS (2001) Ornamental fish resources of Lakshadweep Bulletins of the Geological Survey of India 56 103-111 Available at -
  • Pillai, PKM and Augustine, SK (2000) A code list of common marine living resources of the Indian seas CMFRI Special Publication No.12 CMFRI 1-115 Available at -

Page last updated on:2011-12-02

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