The yellow longnose butterflyfish or forceps butterflyfish, Forcipiger flavissimus, is a species of marine fish in the family Chaetodontidae.
The yellow longnose butterflyfish is widespread throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific area from the eastern coast of Africa to Hawaii, Red Sea included, and is also found in the eastern Pacific Ocean from Baja California to the Revillagigedo Islands and the Galapagos.
It is a small fish which grows up to 22 cm in length.
They have a bright yellow body with a black eye spot on the back of the anal fin to confuse predators. The head is black on top and a silvery white below. There is a distinctive bar over the eye. Juveniles resemble the adults and they grow up to 22 cm although they are usually smaller. As their name implies they have an extended nose which allows them to access small holes in the reef for prey that other fish cannot get into. This gives them an advantage over other fishes when feeding.
Yellow longnose Butterflyfish's facts
This fish is very similar in color pattern and appearance to its close relative the Big Long-nosed Butterflyfish Forcipiger longirostris.. Sometimes dealers will even list them under the same common name, however they can be easily distinguished from one another. The snout on the Big Long-nosed Butterflyfish is actually much longer, to the point of being almost comical. It's important to know which one you are getting, especially for the beginner. The Big Long-nosed F. longirostris is not as robust an aquarium inhabitant, though it is safer in a reef environment with stony corals.
Yellow Long nose butterflyfish are seen singly and in pairs and often in small groups where the groups do not seem to be groups of pairs as often seen with other butterflyfishes. Overall they are more often seen solitary than other species of butterfly fish. They will also sometimes join pairs of other species of butterflyfishes as they move across the reef feeding. They are known to use acoustic signals in territorial defensive behavior and can emit sounds through fast body movements which seem to compress the swim bladder. A larger fish is able to emit louder sounds than a smaller fish allowing the larger fish to dominate the territorial dispute. They emit at least three types of sounds. When they feel threatened they are quick to erect their dorsal fin and twist the body towards the threat.
They are usually found on exposed coral reefs browsing above the reef surface and never venture far from cover. They are found from 2 meters to 120 meters in depth.
Yellow longnose Butterflyfish's Feeding
They use their snout which has a powerful set of teeth on the end, to rip off tentacles from bristle worms and the tube feet off of sea urchins. They also eat small crustaceans.
Yellow longnose Butterflyfish's Reproduction
Yellow long nose butterflyfish form monogamous pairs, as do many other butterflyfishes and are sometimes seen in small groups. They are seen singly more often than other butterflyfish. Spawning is thought to take place in relation to the lunar cycles but this is not certain. The eggs are spherical and buoyant and it is thought they hatch in 28 to 30 hours. Once the eggs hatch a bony plate forms over the head area and the larvae are pelagic for quite some time, before developing into juveniles. This pelagic stage has made it difficult to breed them and there are no reported cases of breeding by aquarists.
Yellow longnose Butterflyfish's Conservation
This species is categorized as ‘Least Concern’ by IUCN.
Yellow longnose Butterflyfish habitat
This species typically inhabits exposed outer reefs (particularly the crests) with abundant coral growth and caves and ledges. It is occasionally found within lagoon reefs. This species usually occurs in pairs, but may also be encountered as solitary animals or in small groups. It feeds on a wide variety of animal prey including hydroids, fish eggs, and small crustaceans, but prefers tube feet of echinoderms, pedicilaria of sea urchins, and polychaete tentacles (Myers 1991). This species may settle in live coral but is not not likely to be reliant on corals given its' latitudinal distribution beyond that of coral reefs. It is found on outer reef flats at various depths from shallow flats to very deep along walls (Kuiter 2002).
Yellow longnose Butterflyfish threats
There appear to be no major threats to this species. Collection is limited and is not considered to be impacting the global population.