Four-Eyed Butterfly Fish Identification

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The four-eyed butterfly fish is one of the five most common butterfly fish species that can be seen while snorkeling in Florida or the Caribbean. Discover how to look for the gray to yellowish-white coloration of the four-eyed butterfly fish with help from a scuba diving instructor in this free video on fish identification and marine life.

Part of the Video Series: Caribbean Fish
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Video Transcript

The marine organist we're going to identify now is the Four-eyed Butterfly Fish. The Four-Eyed Butterfly Fish is one of the five most common Butterfly Fish species. One will see snorkeling or diving in the waters of Florida, the Bahamas and in the Caribbean. It is disk shaped with the majority of its body is silvery gray to yellowish white color. Its fins usually have a yellow margin. The Four-eyed Butterfly Fish, like most Butter Fly Fish has a dark vertical bar running from the top of its body to the bottom, right across the eye; thereby concealing the eye. The marking that gives this fish its name however, is the dark spot ring and white on its back near the base of its tail. This marking is called the false eye spot because it may appear to some predators as the fish's eye which will confuse as to which direction the Four-eyed Butterfly Fish will flee. Four-eyed Butterfly Fish range in size from three to six inches in length with most in in the three to four inch range. They're commonly seen in pairs especially during the breeding season in the spring. And the pairs are thought to bond and stay together for a long periods of time; perhaps for their whole life. They swim over the top of coral reefs, at depths generally less than sixty feet. In fact, they could be frequently seen around shallow reefs so even snorkelers can enjoy viewing this fish. As one might guess based on the small size of their mouth, Four-eyed Butterfly Fish feed primarily on coral polyps and other small creatures such as juvenile shrimp and lobsters. They also enjoy a snack on the various types of tube worms that can be found in the tropical waters they inhabit. Four-eyed Butterfly Fish are pelagic spawners. This means that the male and female release their sperm and eggs into the water column in close proximity to one another where the eggs become fertilized. The eggs are buoyant so they float to the surface where they drift as part of the marine plankton pool until the fry hatch. Post larvae Four-eyed Butterfly Fish go through a stage where their bodies is covered with large bony plates starting at their head. These bony plates are eventually replace with scales. That's the Four-eyed Butterfly Fish.


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