Night Shift

racoon butterfly fishRaccoon Butterflyfish
Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Subphylum: Vertebrata Class: Actinopterygii Order: Perciformes Chaetodontidae Genus: Chaetodon Species: lunula 
Scientific name: Chaetodon lunula 
Common name: Raccoon Butterflyfish
Hawaiian name: Kikakapu

Raccoon butterfly fish are found across the entire Indo-Pacific from East Africa to the coast of South America. They live in pairs or small groups in the shallows of coral reef lagoons, and down reef slopes to the depth of around 100 feet. They are prominent members of Hawaiian coral reefs.

During the day Raccoon butterfly fish gather near cover or congregate in small schools. They are largely nocturnal but will feed during the day if opportunities are presented (shown here and in Turtle Reef attacking the nest of a sergeant major damselfish).

At night they become active and forage over the reef feeding mainly on soft prey such as tubeworms, nudibranchs, tunicates, coral polyps and algae. The striking white crescent over their brow presumably serves as a visible signal to others at night. Raccoon butterflyfish form pairs during the breeding months and cast their eggs into the current to develop unprotected in the plankton until large enough to settle out on a reef.

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