image gosse p h_life_1857_cover
Image number: RS.11827
Credit: ©The Royal Society

Copperband butterflyfish



Creator - Organisation


Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888, British), Illustrator

Object type



height (object): 175mm
width (object): 116mm


   > Zoology
      > Ichthyology

Content object

   > animal
      > fish


Decorative book cover design showing the Copperband butterflyfish (Chelmon rostratus) in a glass bowl of water about to shoot water at an insect on a twig at the edge of the bowl. The reef fish is not a predator of insects in this manner: the author has erroneously attributed the skills of the archerfish (Toxotidae) to this creature.

Front cover of the book Life in its lower, intermediate, and higher forms…by Philip Henry Gosse, second edition (James Nisbet and Co., London, 1857).

This cover is based on an engraving on page 272 within the main body of the book. The engraving is inscribed: ‘The Fly-shooter’ and has the following accompanying description: ‘…those beautiful little tropical fishes called Chaetodons. In the East Indies these are kept in vases for the purpose of witnessing their unerring archery, as their feats in this way are highly amusing. The manners of these little fishes (abundantly confirmed by subsequent testimony) were first described by Dr. Schlosser, in a communication to the Royal Society…’

Philip Henry Gosse (1810-1888) British naturalist and illustrator, was a populariser of marine biology and an aquarium inventor. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1856.

Associated place

<The World>
   > Europe
      > United Kingdom