Meet the Bannerfish: A Magnificent Resident of the Great Barrier Reef

Introduction: The Bannerfish, also known as the Pennant Coralfish or Coachman, is a stunning reef fish that graces the waters of the Great Barrier Reef with its presence. With its striking black and yellow colouration and elongated dorsal fin resembling a flowing banner, this fish is a true icon of the underwater world.


Interesting Facts

  • Appearance: Its elongated body and distinctive colour pattern make the bannerfish easily recognisable. Its body is predominantly black, with vibrant yellow accents on the dorsal fin and tail.
  • Bannerfish exhibit social behaviour by often swimming in small groups or pairs, gracefully navigating the coral formations of the reef.
  • Feeding Habits: Bannerfish are omnivorous, feeding on a diet of plankton, algae, and small invertebrates. They use their specialised brush-like teeth to scrape food from the surfaces of rocks and corals.
  • Habitat: Bannerfish typically inhabit shallow reef environments, favouring areas around coral bommies and rocky outcrops where they can find shelter and protection.


Bannerfish are oviparous, meaning they reproduce by laying eggs. During courtship, males display elaborate behaviours to attract females, including swimming in circular patterns and flaring their fins. After receiving courtship, a female releases her eggs into the water column, where the male fertilizes them. The eggs hatch into larvae, which drift with the currents until they settle on the reef and transform into juvenile fish.

Life Span

The life span of bannerfish in the wild can vary, but they typically live for around 5 to 7 years. Factors such as predation, disease, and habitat degradation can influence their longevity in the wild.

Bannerfish Frequently Asked Questions


Q. Are Bannerfish aggressive towards other fish?

A. No, they are generally peaceful and non-aggressive towards other reef inhabitants. Bannerfish exhibit a calm nature and often swim alongside other species without displaying any signs of aggression.

Q. Do Bannerfish have any predators?

A. While they may fall prey to larger predatory fish, they are equipped with excellent camouflage and agility, which helps them evade potential predators.

Q. Are Bannerfish endangered?

A. Bannerfish are not considered threatened at this time. However, like many reef species, they are vulnerable to habitat destruction, overfishing, and climate change threats.

Visitors to the Great Barrier Reef can take comfort in knowing that bannerfish are not currently endangered, ensuring their presence for years to come and allowing visitors to enjoy their beauty and grace in the vibrant underwater world of the reef.  However, like many reef species, they are vulnerable to habitat destruction, overfishing, and climate change threats.


The bannerfish is a magnificent and iconic resident of the Great Barrier Reef, adding beauty and vibrancy to its underwater landscape. With its striking appearance, fascinating behaviours, and important ecological role, this fish is a true treasure of Australia’s natural heritage. Whether you encounter them while snorkeling, scuba diving, or simply admiring them from the surface, the bannerfish will leave a lasting impression on all who enjoy experiencing it in its natural habitat.

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