Chaetodon tri­fas­cialis

Popular Science - - FEATURES -

THIS STRIPED SWIM­MER IS A PICKY EATER, DIN­ING ON ONLY TABULAR AND staghorn corals. Nor­mally, that’s fine. Both fish and corals live in waters all over the world, from Hawaii to the Red Sea. But ocean tem­per­a­tures are ris­ing, killing the corals in mas­sive bleach­ing events in which they lose their sym­bi­otic al­gae. When cy­clones smash up the al­ready vul­ner­a­ble reefs, fish suf­fer all the more. It’s pos­si­ble some out­posts of butterflyfish will sur­vive, wait­ing to re­turn to their old haunts should corals ever re­cover. But that process could re­quire that seas stay calm and cool for a decade or more.

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