Chaetodon guttatissimus

Chaetodon guttatissimus is one of 88 members of the genus Chaetodon, which together with 11 additional genera make up the butterflyfishes family (Chaetodontidae) in which a total of 129 species are currently described. This species is distributed throughout the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from the east coast of Africa to Indonesia and Australia. It is rare to observe them deeper than 25 meters, and as for the habitat they are not particularly select, being able to observe them both in the outer reefs and in the most sheltered lagoons.

The body of Chaetodon guttatissimus is typical of members of the butterflyfish genus, that is to say its body is oval, laterally compressed, the dorsal and anal fins give it a quadrangular shape and the dorsal profile of the rostrum is concave. This fish can reach a maximum total length of 12 cm. The rostrum is taller than long, and at the tip of the snout there is a small mouth. The dorsal fin has 12-13 spines with indented membranes between them, followed by 22-24 soft rays. The same happens in the anal fin, which has 3 spines (the second one is the most robust and longest) followed by 16-18 soft rays. Finally, the caudal fin has slightly rounded margins.

The general coloration of the body of Chaetodon guttatissimus is yellowish cream, with a dark, vertical dotted pattern on the upper half of the body, and a horizontal one, with slightly smaller and more spaced dots, on the lower half. The margin of the dorsal fin is yellow, with luminous orange above the caudal peduncle.

The small size of the mouth conditions the prey on which Chaetodon guttatissimus feeds, among which we find small polychaetes, some coral polyps and certain algae.

Reproduction of Chaetodon guttatissimus occurs just before sunset, at which time schools of specimens release eggs and sperm into the water column for fertilization to occur. The resulting larvae are planktonic and will be disseminated by the dominant currents in the area.