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Butterflyfish of Niue

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The island of Niue is a raised coral atoll that formed on the peak of an extinct underwater volcano. Made up predominantly of coral limestone which forms both its central bedrock and coastal cliffs, the island’s highest point reaches 60 metres above sea level. While Niue has a plentiful and colourful abundance of sea life, reaching it can prove difficult due to the island’s high coastal cliffs.  

Issue information

Niue is surrounded by crystal-clear waters and with visibility of up to 100 metres, it is one of the top ranked diving and snorkelling locations in the world. With many caves and caverns to explore, as well as an abundance of curious marine life waiting to greet you, it’s an experience not to be missed.

Amongst some of these curious sea creatures there are a variety of butterflyfish, four of which were the focus of this stamp issue. The Reticulate Butterflyfish, Bennett’s Butterflyfish, Lined Butterflyfish and Acropora Butterflyfish are all brightly coloured with striking markings. They feed predominantly on live coral. Due to this selective diet, these species have proven difficult to maintain in an aquarium environment as they refuse to eat simple fish food. This also means all four butterflyfish are susceptible to the impact of coral bleaching and habitat loss.

Product Listing for Butterflyfish of Niue

Image Title Description Price
Single Stamp

Single 30c 'Reticulate Butterflyfish - Chaetodon reticulatus' gummed stamp.

Most commonly spotted swimming in pairs along exposed outer reefs, the Reticulate Butterflyfish has yellowish white markings on black which give it a polka-dot like appearance. Dashing strips of bright yellow can be seen skirting the edges of its fins while a solid black stripe runs across its eye. Often found at depths of 1-30 metrer, this butterflyfish can grow up to 16 centimetres in length and lives exclusively on a diet of live coral.

Single Stamp

Single $1.40 'Bennett’s Butterflyfish - Chaetodon bennetti' gummed stamp.

This brightly coloured butterflyfish is set apart by its commanding yellow dominated colouring. The tell-tale dark brown spot outlined by bright white on its flank, as well as the dark brown stripe across its eye and white dashes on its side makes the Bennett’s Butterflysfish a favourite to spot amongst divers. Most commonly spotted swimming alone in lagoons or outer reefs where coral growth is most abundant, it can be found at a depth of 5-30 metres.

Single Stamp

Single $2.00 'Lined Butterflyfish - Chaetodon lineolatus' gummed stamp.

This is the largest of the butterflyfish species, often reaching up to 30 centimetres in length, these striped fish can be found swimming in pairs at depths of 2-170 metres. The thin black stripes running down the majority of its body are offset by vivid yellow fins and solid black markings on its front and back. While this particular butterflyfish does feed on live coral, it is not solely dependent on it as its primary food source, so would be less susceptible to the effects of coral bleaching and habitat loss.

Single Stamp

Single $4.00 'Acropora Butterflyfish - Chaetodon trifascialis' gummed stamp.

Due to the limited range of corals that this butterflyfish feeds on, this species has been greatly affected by coral bleaching across many of the reefs it inhabits. There are only 15 types of coral that this butterflyfish is known to feed on, each of the corals are listed as near threatened or vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list. This species gained its name from the diagonal chevron pattern that angles into the centre of its body. It’s silverfish white body darkens into yellow as it reaches the edges of its fins.

Miniature Sheet Mint, used or cancelled miniature sheet. $7.70
First Day Cover First day cover with stamps affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $8.20
Miniature Sheet First Day Cover First day cover with miniature sheet affixed. Cancelled on the first day of issue. $8.20

Technical information

Date of issue: 20 September 2017
Number of stamps: Four gummed stamps
Denominations: 30c, $1.40, $2.00, $4.00
Stamps, miniature sheet and first day covers designed by: Jonathan Gray, New Zealand Post, Wellington, New Zealand 
Printer: Collectables and Solutions Centre, New Zealand Post, Whanganui, New Zealand
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 40mm x 30mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 16
Perforation gauge: 13.33
Special blocks: Plate and value blocks could be obtained by purchasing at least six stamps from a sheet.
Period of sale: These stamps remained on sale until 19 September 2018.