This article is about the white ocean mollusk. For the yellow ocean fish, see Butterfly fish.
⬅ #46 sturgeon #47 sea butterflyNH-Icon-seabutterfly #48 sea horse ➡

The sea butterfly, Clione limacina, is an uncommon ocean fish. They can be caught during winter and are the only winter fish that cast such a small shadow in the sea, and so can be identified with ease. Its appearance during winter is a reference to how it is found in cold waters in real life.

The sea butterfly was first introduced in Wild World, and has appeared in every game since.

Donation to the museum

The sea butterfly can be donated to the museum by talking to Blathers.

In Wild World

"The sea butterfly is in the same family as snails, as you may or may not know. You might think it's strange to have a snail without a shell, eh wot? Indeed, well, slugs are also snails without shells! I must admit, being lumped in with slugs probably angers the sea butterfly."

In City Folk

It occupies a large glass tube in the lower-right corner of the fish exhibition, with other small oceanic fish.

In New Leaf

"Sea butterflies go with the flow, as they'll drift in cold winter waters along with ice floes. They are called "ice-floe angels" because of the mysterious way they swim with their winglike arms. Their heads will open up when they make an attempt to catch their helpless prey. Once its head is opened, it grabs its prey with six special feelers called "buccal cones". The only place you'll find both cold water and tropical sea butterflies swimming together is in this game."

In New Horizons

"Such mystery! Such grace! Did you know that the sea butterfly's scientific name is Thecosomata? A very rough translation of that is 'shell body.' Indeed, this illustrious creature is related to snails! However, it reminds me much more of an elegant feathered friend, the way it flies through the water. With such grace in flying, one shouldn't wonder if it's related to the owl, hoo hoo!"

The sea butterfly is displayed in its own tank in the back saltwater fish room, where several individuals swim around a large icy stalagmite.

Capture quote

"I caught a sea butterfly! I didn't even use a net!" —Wild World
"I caught a sea butterfly! Wonder if it used to be a sea caterpillar?" —City Folk
"I caught a sea butterfly! I didn't even use a net!" —New Leaf
"I caught a sea butterfly! Try not to confuse it for a sea moth!" —New Horizons

Encyclopedia information

Wild World

Encyclopedia Information
Sea butterfly (Wild World) "Its a snail, it eats sea butterflies and shellfish. It navigates the water by flapping its "wings."
Size 1.2 inches
Habitat Ocean
Season Winter
Icon Sea butterfly (Wild World icon)

City Folk

Encyclopedia Information
Sea Butterfly (City Folk)
"Some say these resemble angels, but they look like devils when they feed."
Size About 1.2 inches
Habitat Ocean
Season Winter

New Leaf

Encyclopedia Information
Sea butterfly encyclopedia (New Leaf)
"I caught a sea butterfly! I didn't even use a net!"
Size About 1.2 inches
Habitat Ocean
Season Winter

New Horizons

Encyclopedia Information
"I caught a sea butterfly! Try not to confuse it for a sea moth!"
Habitat Sea
Months active (north) December through March
Months active (south) June through September


Further information

Sea Butterfly

A real-life sea butterfly.

Main article: Sea butterfly on Wikipedia

Sea butterflies are a kind of sea snail with the ability to swim. They beat their wing-like flippers to fly through the water not unlike butterflies, hence their name. They are very small - only 1cm in length, but play a significant role in the food web of the oceans. They can be found within the upper layers of the ocean all over the world, but are more common in cold waters, such as those at the poles.

In New Horizons, the animal that more closely matches the model is called a sea angel, while the animal that has the common name sea butterfly looks nothing like it.

In other languages

Sea butterfly
Language Name
Flag of Japan Japanese クリオネ Kurione
Flag of France small French Clione (Fr.)
Papillon de mer (Ca.)
Flag of Spain Spanish Mariposa marina
Flag of Germany small German See-Engel
Flag of Italy small Italian Cavolinia
Flag of the Netherlands Dutch Zeevlinder
Flagofrussiasmall Russian Морской ангел Morskoy angel
Flagofchinasmall Chinese 海蝴蝶 Hǎihúdié
Flag of South Korea Korean 클리오네 Keullione

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