News / Species Spotlight / Species Spotlight - Banded Humeralis Butterflyfish (Chaetodon humeralis) (12/13/17)

Species Spotlight - Banded Humeralis Butterflyfish (Chaetodon humeralis)

Species Spotlight - Banded Humeralis Butterflyfish (Chaetodon humeralis)
Chaetodon humeralis is a fish that goes by many names. In Spanish, it is the mariposa de tres bandas. In French, the papillon trois bandes. In English, youll usually see it called the Threebanded Butterflyfish. All of these reference the most visible trait of this species, its three prominent bands.

At first glance it is one of the more subdued and sombre examples from Chaetodon, sporting a minimalist design of black and sooty white that many would overlook for being too simple and lacking in color. But theres definitely an understated beauty to be found in C. humeralis. Its sleek lines and clean appearance give it an almost abstract look, as if Franz Kline wiped his brush across a featureless Chaetodon canvas.

There are just a half-dozen species of Chaetodon which occur in the tropical Eastern Pacific Ocean, and, of these, C. humeralis is the only one endemic to these waters. It frequents rocky reefs and intertidal pools from Redondo Beach in southern California to Peru and all the way west to the Galapagos Islands, where it can be found swimming alongside the marine iguanas. The isolation of this species in the Pacific traces back to the closing of the Isthmus of Panama, as its apparent sister species, the Banded Butterflyfish (C. striatus), is widespread in the West Atlantic.

Its diet in the wild consists of a wide variety of invertebrates, especially those of the wormy variety, and for this reason it is an especially easy species to feed in captivity, accepting a wide range of fresh and frozen foods. The maximum reported size is nearly a foot in length, but specimens kept in aquariums will more typically reach just over six inches. As with most from this genus, it is generally best to keep this fish singly, unless a mated pair can be purchased or created (but due note that there are no external sexual differences).