Chaetodon lunula   (Lacepede,  1802) (Fish)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Actinopterygii

Image copyrights; Randall, J.E.

Size: 20.0 cm TL (male)

Color: Brown above becoming yellowish white below; a dark brown cross band broader than eye and often edged with white from interorbital space across eye to edge of preoperculum; a large triangular black area from below base of 6th to 7th dorsal spine widening gradually and ending posterior to gill opening. A dark brown area below first four dorsal spines, a dark band from base of posterior dorsal spine, gradually broadening below end of soft dorsal and ending on caudal peduncle. Oblique dark bands running upwards and backwards on sides. Dorsal and anal light brownish with broad black marginal band. Caudal pale with submarginal blackish band and broad hyaline margin. Pectoral and ventral hyaline. Young specimens characterized by yellow edged black ocellus on soft dorsal, a black blotch at caudal peduncle and a black cross band anteriorly on caudal peduncle.

Head 2.7-3.1 in standard length, 3.3-3.8 in total length. Depth of body 1.4-1.6 in standard length, 1.7-1.9 in total length. Eye diameter 3.1-3.4 in head, 1.1-1.2 in snout and equal to convex interorbital space. Dorsal profile of head concave. Lower border of eye below a level of gape of mouth. Dorsal spines increasing in length to the fourth or fifth, it being longest, other spines subequal. 2nd anal fin spine longer than third. Lateral line arched and ending below posterior part of soft dorsal. Pectoral 1/3 length of snout shorter than head; ventral slightly shorter than pectoral.
Number of spines and rays in the dorsal fin: XII, 23-25; number of spines and rays in the anal fin: III, 18-20; number of rays in the pectoral fin: 16-17; 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: 36-40; 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: 7-8+16-17.

Oviparous, dioecious, external fertilization, nonguarders, open water/substratum egg scatterers. Distinct pairing.

Max. reported age: 9 years

Remarks: Values in above description denote proportions.

Synonym (s)
Chaetodon biocellatus Cuvier, 1831
(Junior synonym)
Chaetodon fasciatus (non Forsskal, 1775)
(Misapplied name)
Chaetodon lunula (Lacepede, 1802)
(Senior synonym)
Pomacentrus lunula Lacepede, 1802
(Senior synonym)
Tetragonoptrus biocellatus (Cuvier, 1831)
(Junior synonym)
Tetragonoptrus fasciatus (non Forsskal, 1775)
(Misapplied name)
Tetragonoptrus lunula (Lacepede, 1802)
(Senior synonym)
Pomacentrus lunula Lacepede, 1803
Chaetodon lunula Day, 1878
Chaetodon (Chaetodontops) lunula Weber and de Beaufort, 1936
Chaetodon iunula (Lacepede, 1802)
Chaetodon luluna (Lacepede, 1802)

Common Name (s)
• Racoon Butterflyfish (English)
• Red Striped Butterflyfish (English)
• Handupholimas (Mahl)
• Pakkikkadiya (Malayalam)
• Kalfmoon Butterflyfish
Economic Importance and Threats
(Fisheries, aquarium, Ornamental fish)

Habitat:  Benthic, Reef Associated
Trophic Level:  Consumer
Prey:  Nudibranchs, tubeworm tentacles, other benthic invertebrates, algae and coral polyps


• Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Andaman Islands (Lat: 10) (Long: 93) INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy Atoll (Lat: 8) (Long: 71) INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti Atoll (Lat: 10.55) (Long: 72.63) INDIA (Record: 01/1991-06/1992)
• Lakshadweep, Agatti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Amini INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Chettalatt INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kavaratti INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kilttan INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Minicoy INDIA
• Lakshadweep INDIA
• Lakshadweep, Kilttan INDIA (Record: 05/01/1987-06/02/1987)
• Lakshadweep Islands INDIA (Record: 11/1993-01/1997)
• Tamil Nadu, Gulf of Mannar INDIA
• Andaman and Nicobar Islands INDIA

Literature Source(s)
  • Wafar, MVM (2003) Checklists of reef fauna Available at -
  • Rao, DV; Devi, K and Rajan, PT (2000) An account of ichthyofauna of Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Bay of Bengal Occasional paper no 178 Records of the Zoological Survey of India ZSI, Calcutta 1-434 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • James, C; O'Farrell, S; Hamylton, S; Ingwersen, C and Walker, R The coral reef resources of Mu Ko Surin national park, Thailand Coral Cay Conservation Available at -
  • 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
  • Heemstra, E; Heemstra, P; Smale, M; Hoopers, T and Pelicier, D (2004) Preliminary checklist of coastal fishes from the Mauritian island of Rodrigues Journal of natural history Taylor and Francis 38(23-24) 3315 - 3350 Available at - index/
  • Rao, DV and Devi, K (2004) A pictorial guide to butterfly and anemone fishes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands 76 pp Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Letourneur, Y; Chabanet, P; Durville, P; Taquet, M; Teissier, E; Parmentier, M; Quero, JC and Pothin, K (2004) An updated checklist of the marine fish fauna of Reunion Island, south-western Indian Ocean Cybium 28(3) 199-216
  • Kemp, JM (1998) Zoogeography of the coral reef fishes of the Socotra Archipelago Journal of Biogeography 25 919-933
  • Andersson, K (2002) A Study of Coral Reef Fishes along a Gradient of Disturbance in the Langkawi Archipelago, Malaysia Uppsala Universitet 19725
  • 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
  • Froese, R and Pauly, D (2000) Fishbase 2000: Concepts, design and data sources ICLARM 344 pp 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
  • 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 -
  • Murty, VS (2002) Marine ornamental fish resources of Lakshadweep CMFRI Special Publication CMFRI 72 1-134 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 -
  • Talwar, PK (1990) Fishes of Andaman and Nicobar Islands: A synoptic survey Journal of the Andaman Science Association Andaman Science Association, Port Blair 6(2) 71-102 Available at - NIO,Goa

Page last updated on:2011-07-29

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