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They have a yellow body with 11 diagonal stripes and reach a maximum length of 22 cm (c.9 in). In their native habitat, they swim over and around corals, on which they feed. They have also been observed feeding on gelatinous zooplankton, such as jellyfish (Scyphozoa) and comb jellies (Ctenophora). It belongs to the large subgenus Rabdophorus which might warrant recognition as a distinct genus. In this group, its closest relative is probably the very similar common raccoon butterflyfish (C. lunula). Other close relatives appear to be the black butterflyfish (C. flavirostris), Philippine butterflyfish (C. adiergastos), and perhaps also the unusual red-tailed butterflyfish (C. collare). Although the coloration of this group varies quite a lot, they are all largish butterflyfishes with an oval outline, and most have a pattern of ascending oblique stripes on the flanks. Except in the red-tailed butterflyfish, there is at least a vestigial form of the "raccoon" mask, with a white space between the dark crown and eye areas.
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