This image features on the Butterflies of the Reef FDC    


Butterflies of the Reef

       04 Sept 2001              20c, 80c, $1.50, $2.00                                             Mint and CTO           $4.50

                                     Mini sheet  ($2 / 20c)                                                             FDC            $5.50
                                                                                                   Mini Sheet - Mint & CTO            $2.20
                                                                                                                   Mini Sheet FDC           $3.20


                   Technical Details

        Release Date:             04 September 2001
        Denominations:           20c, 80c, $1.50, $2.00
        Designer:                    Sue Wickison, Wellington, NZ
        Printer:                       Carter Security Printer, La Loupe France
        Process:                     Offset Lithography
        Paper:                        110gsm PVA gum stamp paper
        Stamp Size:                28mm x 45mm vertical
        Mini Sheet Size          Die cut. 90mm x 120mm horizontal
        Perforation Gauge:     13 per 2 cm
        Sheet                         Panes of 2 x 25 stamps + gutter
        First Day Cover:        $5.50 with four stamps
                                         $3.20 with miniature sheet


Butterflies of the Reef features three species of the Chaetodontidae family of coral reef fish, commonly known as Butterflyfish and one of the Bannerfish or Heniochus family.  Specifically, those featured on this issue are as follows:
    20c stamp (and mini sheet):  Chaetodon Ornatissimus  or Ornate Butterflyfish
    80c stamp:  Chaetodon reticulatus or Reticulated Butterflyfish
    $1.50 stamp:  Chaetodon lunula or Raccoon Butterflyfish
    $2.20 stamp (and mini sheet) Henochus chrysostomus or Pennant Bannerfish

There are 116 known species of the Butterflyfish family and they are among the coral reefs’ most colourful inhabitants, their highly compressed bodies covered in small scales, feature a single continuous dorsal fin and their mouths hold a band or rows of small brush-like teeth.  Butterfly fish are typically diurnal, resting among the corals on the bottom or close to the surface at night and actively patrolling a home ground during the day, often in pairs.  Most, including those featured in this issue, dwell in depths of less than 30 metres.  A few species of the family can be found up to 200 metres below the surface.  The exception is Chaetodon lunula or Raccoon Butterflyfish ($1.50 stamp) which is the only species to be nocturnally active.  They feed mainly upon algae, coral tissue and mucus.  Although these species and the Pennant Bannerfish can be found as far to the west as the India Ocean islands of Cocos-Keeling and Sri Lanka, the Pitcairn Islands and Ducie in particular, is the eastern-most extent of their habitat.

Chaetodon ornatissimus grows to a maximum length of 18cm and like Chaetodon reticulatus, which can reach 15cm in length, is seldom kept in private aquariums due to feeding difficulties and poor adaptability.  Chaetodon lunula, which can grow up to 20.5cm adapts well to aquarium life.  Henochus chrysostomus grows to 15cm and is not commonly found in aquaria.  This species is sometimes referred to as Henochus permutatus.

The Pitcairners have a single name for the three species of Chaetodon – Latus (pr. l t'us).  Henochus crysostomus is known locally as Breadfish.  Often they are all referred to as those good for nothing pick-pick fish that pick away at the bait on fishing lines which are dropped in the hope of catching a far bigger fish for dinner.

Their colourful appearance and deft movements are aptly described in the issues title Butterflies of the Reef.