Chaetodon vagabundus (Vagabond butterflyfish)


Yellowish white with chevron pattern of narrow lines, narrow black band across rear body does not cover the entire rear dorsal fin. Juveniles lack the chevron markings and have a black spot on the upper rear dorsal fin. It usually lives solitary but is also known to form groups. The Chaetodon genus contains several similar looking species. Closely related to Chaetodon decussatus.


Least concern on the IUCN Red list.


Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Line and Tuamoto islands, north to southern Japan, south to the Lord Howe and the Austral islands. Found in reef flats, lagoons and seaward reefs and juveniles in turbid waters subject to freshwater runoff, in a depth range of 5-30 meters.


Oviparous and monogamous. Stable monogamous pairs with both pair members jointly defending a feeding territory against other pairs, but often accompanies other species without being aggressive.


Up to 23cm., but usually around 15cm.

Prey / Predation

Omnivorous. Feeds on algae, coral polyps, crustaceans and worms.

Special features

It is closely related to Chaetodon decussates, the Indian vagabond butterflyfish.