Close Cousins of Chelmon

These species are closely related to Chelmon and might be confused with them.

Supplement to “Keeping Chelmon Butterflyfish” by Charles Delbeek, M.Sc., Marine Fish and Reef USA magazine, 2012, Vol. 14.

Lord Howe coralfish (Amphichaetodon howensis; Waite, 1903). Originally listed in the genus Chelmonops, this fish has now been placed in its own genus along with another species, A. melbae (San Felix butterflyfish), which has only been reported from San Felix Island off the coast of Chile. As the name suggests, the Lord Howe coralfish is found at Lord Howe Island of the coast of Sydney, Australia, but it is also found along the southeast coast of Australia as well as northern New Zealand. Not often found in the aquarium trade, this fish is found around rocky reefs and associated with corals but requires moderate temperatures between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Truncate butterflyfish (Chelmonops truncatus; Kner, 1859) and the squareback butterflyfish (C. curiosus; Kuiter, 1986). Similar in appearance to each other, these two species resemble Chelmon muelleri but are not as colorful. They are both temperate species of southern Australian waters and should not be kept above 75 degrees and may require periods of cooler temperatures in the mid 60s.

Coradion spp. There are currently three tropical species in this genus (C. altivelis, C. chrysozonus and C. melanopus), with a fourth moved to Chaetodon but now in the genus Roa (R. modestus) and which is usually found deeper than 200 feet but can be found as shallow as 60 feet in Japan. All three can be kept in reef aquariums with similar care and behavior to Chelmon muelleri and can be sometimes be confused with this species in appearance. Coradion is a beautiful butterflyfish genus that is not often considered for reef aquariums but should be as it is fairly reef safe.


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