The butterflyfishes are a group of conspicuous tropical marine fish of the family Chaetodontidae; the bannerfish and coralfish are also included in this group. Found mostly on the reefs of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans, there are approximately 120 species in 10 genera. A number of species pairs occur in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, members of the huge genus Chaetodon.
Butterflyfishes look like smaller versions of angelfish (Pomacanthidae), but unlike these, lack preopercle spines at the gill covers. Some members of the genus Heniochus resemble the Moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus) of the monotypic Zanclidae. Among the paraphyletic Perciformes, the former are probably not too distantly related to butterflyfish, whereas the Zanclidae seem far less close.
The blue-cheeked butterflyfish, Chaetodon semilarvatus, is a species of butterflyfish (family Chaetodontidae). It is found in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, at depths of between 3 and 20 m.
Its length is up to 23 cm (9.1 in). It is mostly yellow, with thin slate blue vertical lines on the sides and a slate blue cheek patch in lieu of the usual black eyestripe of most Chaetodon.
The blue-cheeked butterflyfish belongs to the large subgenus Rabdophorus which might warrant recognition as a distinct genus. In this group, it seems closest to a group containing the Blackback butterflyfish (C. melannotus), the spot-naped butterflyfish (C. oxycephalus), or the peculiar black-wedged butterflyfish (C. falcula) and Pacific double-saddle butterflyfish or "false falcula", (C. ulietensis). Though the present species does not share their white body with black on the back and caudal peduncle and even lacks the typical eyestripe of Chaetodon, it has the same tell-tale blue vertical lines as these species.
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