Reef to Rainforest: Discovering Tropical Species, Places, Nature


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Forcipiger flavissimus, Longnose Butterflyfish. Scott W. Michael

Family: Chaetodontidae

Species in Genus Forcipiger:

Reference: A PocketExpert Guide to Reef Aquarium Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM


The two species in this genus both have bright yellow bodies and extremely elongated snouts, which are used to pluck invertebrates from reef interstices.

The Yellow Longnose Butter­flyfish (F. flavissimus) is the easier to keep, but is also more of a threat to invertebrates (e.g., it uses its jaws to pull the feeding tentacles off fanworms and to amputate echinoderm tube feet). It rarely feeds on hard- and soft-coral polyps in the wild, but does pose some risk to corals in the reef aquarium, especially large-polyped stony corals.

The Big Longnose Butterflyfish (F. longirostris) is not a threat to ornamental invertebrates, but can be difficult to feed. It has a pipette-like mouth and ingests tiny crustaceans. It tends to do better in a reef tank with well-established live substrate.

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