Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Perciformes Chaetodontidae

Scientific Name: Chaetodon andamanensis
Species Authority: Kuiter & Debelius, 1999
Common Name(s):
English Yellow Butterflyfish
Taxonomic Notes: Previously lumped with C. plebeius.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Data Deficient ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2009-10-08
Assessor(s): Myers, R. & Pratchett, M.
Reviewer(s): Elfes, C., Polidoro, B., Livingstone, S. & Carpenter, K.E.

While there have been no declines documented, this species is likely to be dependent on live coral cover, which may  make it susceptible to habitat loss. There have been no studies of this species biology but it is assumed to be an obligate and specialised corallivore due to studies on its sister species Chaetodon plebeius. Further there have been documented declines of coral cover throughout at least 50 % of its known range. Due to the lack of knowledge on the diet, and the impact of coral degradation on the population, this species is listed as Data Deficient. Further studies on ecology and natural history and threats are urgently required. If more information was available for this species it may well fall into a threatened category.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This eastern Indian Ocean species has been recorded from Sri Lanka; southwestern India; the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (India); the Maldives; the Mergui Archipelago (Myanmar); the Similan Islands (Thailand); and Weh Island (northwest of Sumatra, Indonesia) (G.R. Allen pers. comm. 2006). It occurs in shallow waters up to 10 m in depth.
Countries occurrence:
Bangladesh; India (Andaman Is., Nicobar Is.); Indonesia; Maldives; Myanmar; Sri Lanka; Thailand
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – eastern; Indian Ocean – western
Lower depth limit (metres):10
Upper depth limit (metres):1
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]


This species is thought to be common. There is no information on the population trends. There may be inferred declines due to coral cover loss within its range due to bleaching events. Since this species relies on corals for its food, declines in coral cover would also mean declines in the population of this species. The sister species, C. plebeius, went locally extinct on the central Great Barrier Reef following severe bleaching and coral loss (Prattchet et al. 2006).

Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This species has been recorded in shallow coastal reefs and islands where it lives among live coral. The diet consists mainly of coral polyps. There have been no detailed specific feeding observations of this species but the sister species C. plebeius is an obligate and specialised corallivore.

This species most likely recruits in very low numbers and requires live branching coral for recruitment. Consequently, recovery from population collapse is likely to be slow (Pratchett et al 2008).


Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: It is rarely collected for aquarium trade (G.R. Allen pers. comm. 2006).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

This species relies on live coral for food and/or recruitment, and may therefore decline in abundance following climate-induced coral depletion (Pratchett et al. 2008). This species may also take a long time (10 years) to recover from a collapse in population due to its low recruitment rate. Although there have been no documented declines, there has been substantial coral loss in the Maldives.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

There appear to be no species specific conservation measures in place. This species is believed to be present within a number of marine protected areas. Monitoring of this species is needed in conjunction with coral monitoring, as well as determination of the degree of co-dependence between this species and corals. Research is required to establish its specific dietary requirements and reliance on coral.

Classifications [top]

9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.1. Outer Reef Channel
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.2. Back Slope
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.3. Foreslope (Outer Reef Slope)
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes
9. Marine Neritic -> 9.8. Marine Neritic - Coral Reef -> 9.8.4. Lagoon
suitability: Suitable  major importance:Yes

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.3. Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale)
♦ timing: Unknown ♦ scope: Minority (<50%) ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

11. Climate change & severe weather -> 11.1. Habitat shifting & alteration
♦ timing: Ongoing ♦ scope: Unknown ♦ severity: Unknown ⇒ Impact score: Unknown 
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

Allen, G.R. and Adrim, M. 2003. Coral reef fishes of Indonesia. Zoological Studies 42(1): 1-72.

IUCN. 2010. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2010.4). Available at: (Accessed: 27 October 2010).

Kuiter, R.H. and Debelius, H. 1999. Description of a new butterflyfish, Chaetodon andamanensis, from the eastern Indian Ocean. Senckenbergiana Biologica 79(2): 231-235.

Pratchett, M.S., Marnane, M.J., Berumen, M.L., Eagle, J.E. and Pratchett, D.J. 2008. Habitat associations of juvenile versus adult butterflyfishes. Coral Reefs 27: 541-551.

Pratchett, M.S., Munday, P.L., Wilson, S.K., Graham, N.A.J., Cinner, J.E., Bellwood, D.R., Jones, G.P., Polunin, N.V.C. and McClanahan, T.R. 2008. Effects of climate-induced coral bleaching on coral reef fishes - Ecological and economic consequences. Oceanography and Marine Biology: An Annual Review 46: 251-296.

Citation: Myers, R. & Pratchett, M. 2010. Chaetodon andamanensis. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T165707A6097352. . Downloaded on 06 October 2015.
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