Butterfishes, white pomfrets or silver pomfrets are the members of the Stromateidae family. They are found in north and south America, western Africa, and Indo-Pacific oceans. Butterfishes are recognized by their deep body, small eye, silvery, pale or bluish body colour, no keels or scutes near caudal-fin base, and no pelvic fins.

Butterfishes are primarily coastal fishes occurring in large schools mainly in depths shallower than 100 m. They feed mainly on zooplankton, particularly copepods and decapod larvae.

There are 3 genera and about 16 species of Stromateidae worldwide. Malaysia has only one genus and 2 species.


Scientific Name: Pampus argenteus  (Euphrasen, 1788)
English Name: Silver Pomfret, White Pomfret
French Name: Aileron argente
Mandarin Name: 白鲳 (Bái chāng), 银鲳 (Yín chāng)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Bawal Putih, Duai Putih
Local Hokkien: Pek Cheoh
Main Diagnostic Features: Fine ridge-like patch of skin on top of head large, extending above pectoral-fin base. Caudal fin deeply forked often with the lower lobe extended.
Size: Maximum standard length about 60 cm, commonly to 30 cm.

Scientific Name: Pampus chinensis  (Euphrasen, 1788)
English Name: Chinese Silver Pomfret
French Name: Aileron chinois
Mandarin Name: 斗鲳 (Dòu chāng), 斗底白鯧 (Dòu dǐ bái chāng), 斗底 (Dòu dǐ)
Local Malay Name: Ikan Bawal Tambak, Duai Tambak
Local Hokkien: Tau Tae
Main Diagnostic Features: Posterior margin of dorsal and anal fins not deeply indented. No blade-like spines before dorsal and anal fins. Caudal fin not deeply forked and lobes are almost equal in length.
Size: Maximum standard length about 40 cm, commonly to 20 cm.