Body thin and round in profile. Forehead slightly concave, the eye concealed by a dark bar on the head. Body silver-white. Fins, except for the pectoral ones, bright yellow. Rear dorsal fin with a black dot on the outer edge (C. ocellatus).
Size up to 20 cm.
Juveniles with a translucent tail and very young have a large black spot on the rear dorsal and anal fins and base tail, which form a rear body bar in older juveniles.
Inhabit shallow, coral reefs in clear water, down to 30 m. Develops dusky bands at night.
Common to occasional Florida, Bahamas and Caribbean.
The Reef butterflyfish (Chaetodon sedentarius) is common on Aruba, but not on Bonaire and Curacao. The body has a yellowish back and dorsal fin and a silver-white lower body. The tail is yellow to reddish. A black bar runs over the eye, and there is a dark, bar-like, area on the rear body.