Copperband Butterflyfish: A Very Groote Eylandt Norther Christmas

….And the journey continues.

On the second day of Christmas Norther gives you a Copperband Butterflyfish. And a magical adventure on Groote Eylandt! 

Copperband Butterflyfish on Groote Eylandt

COMMON NAME: Copperband Butterflyfish

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Chelmon rostratus

TYPE: Fish

DIET: Benthic invertebrates, small crustaceans, tubeworms.

SIZE: Up to 4–6 inches long

The Copperband Butterflyfish is a B- E-A-U-tiful fish. You can identify this curious creature by its four yellow-orange vertical bands that are edged in black.

Did you know that it has a false eyespot? Like a pirate ‘aha me hearties’!!

This is meant to confuse predators. Like the huge grey-scaled shark – imagine darting away from the shark with your false eyes. Ahhhhhh! How cool is that?


Where Can the Copperband Butterflyfish be Found?

They are found in gorgeous saltwater reefs in the Indian and Pacific oceans around Indonesia, Australia, the Philippines, and Singapore. In Australia, they are very common on Groote Eylandt. Their natural habitat is in warm corals and reefs which can be found on the Eylandt where they can live for up to 10 years! The Copperband butterflyfish are very territorial, which means they do not like sharing their space. Like the way you feel when your sibling tries to steal your video games (eeekkkk). 

The fish are diurnal, meaning they’re more active during the day than at night. If you go looking for them during the day, they will be too hard for you to catch as they’re off darting from one adventure to the other.

What does Copperband Butterflyfish eat? 

Known to feed on benthic invertebrates, these are small spineless organisms that live on the bottom of the water table and they are believed to feed on tubeworms and small crustaceans. (Yuck!) Their beak shape allows them to dig in small crevices that other fish cannot reach. (Kinda cool!) This gives them less competition over their food source. (Winner winner chicken dinner!)

Now that you know all about these fun, curious fishies, it’s time to colour them in! Share this with your friends and see who can do the most creative design. Have some fun and maybe draw the fishy with a pirate face or getting chased by a turtle. Wanna feature your creation on our instagram? Email us [email protected] and we’ll share the most creative design on our Instagram page! 

Yours in adventure,

Have a Merry Norther Christmas 

Download The Copperband Butterflyfish Colouring Page

Christmas – Groote

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Now that you know more about the Copperband Butterflyfish, let’s talk about the beautiful Groote Eylandt where they live!

Groote Eylandt

Groote Eylandt is the fourth largest island in Australia. It is where the Anindilyakwa people live. Their name for the Eylandt is Ayangkidarrba, which comes from the Anindilyakwa language. The Anindilyakwa First Nations people are the traditional owners of the Groote Eylandt. Check out this video showcasing Emily Wurrramara’s experiences and affection for Groote Eylandt.

The Eylandt has chock full of pristine beaches and their aquatic life is phenomenal.


What to Do and Things to Know When Visiting Groote Eylandt

It is just a short 1.5-hour flight out of Darwin. To visit the Eylandt you will need a permit from the Anindilyakwa Land Council. This initiative is meant to protect the Eylandt as it is of great cultural significance to the Anindilyakwa people. 

The best way to ensure that Groote Eylandt is open during your visit is to the National Indigenous Australians Agency or the NIAA’s website

When you visit the Eylandt you will feel welcomed and this will make your trip even more spectacular. Other than enjoying a few days of fishing there is an abundance of activities on the Eylandt. It is a great place to visit for golf enthusiasts. Their arts and cultural centre is a great opportunity to learn something new. Together with scenic accommodation options will not leave you wanting. 

Click here for the 5 Inspiring Facts for a Groote Eylandt Weekend Visit

Groote Eylandt is a definite must-do trip. With both cultural and entertaining elements, it will be a weekend trip worth taking. This beautiful part of Australia is one we are proud to share. 

We cannot wait to see you enjoying the Eylandt. Ready to go on your next adventure? You can also see flight availability here.

We would love your feedback on this page – please comment below if you’ve been to Groote Eylandt or seen a  Copperband Butterflyfish!

Norther® would like to invite you to explore more about the beauty at Groote Eylandt here. And… as always you can get more inspiration for other Destinations & National Parks to visit by following @northerhq or get your Groote Eylandt daily fix @grooteeylandt.

Picture of Norther


NORTHER ® provides encouragement for travellers to value, enjoy and explore the NT in a one-of-kind way so they can honour and respect culture through care and integrity.

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