During our many diving excursions, we encountered a lot of different types of butterfly. My favorite was the Banded Butterly (Chaetodon striatus) that is periodically seen in some of the earlier sites in the week. This fish sports vertical black bands throughout its’ entire body. This type of butterflyfish is an easy going and timid reef fish species. The deep black bands are often complemented with light shades of yellow depending on their age. The all have a typical discus body shape with a small mouth used for girding small invertebrates and soft coral tissues, but juveniles have a different look to them. The juveniles display a black ring near the dorsal fin, and their overall coloration has a much yellower hue.
Banded butterflies have been observed to feed in a variety of behaviors: munching on the reef, catching tiny plankton, and even partaking in the "cleaning stations" that happen under the sea. Even with fish that are otherwise predatory to the banded butterfly.The Banded Butterflyfish aren't currently at risk on being put on the endangered list.
They are commonly found and are home to the Western Atlantic Ocean, all the way up to the Gulf of Mexico. They can grow up to about 6in in length with maturity being about 5 inches. They are definitely a great compliment to all the amazing organisms we encountered during our week at the Keys Marine Lab.