Forty-four microsatellite primers developed for three species of butterflyfish were cross-tested against 22 related confamilial species. Amplification success and cross-species transferability of these markers were moderately high. Between 24 and 37 loci were amplified successfully in each species, with a mean success rate per species of 71.7% (± 1.8 SE). Rates of amplification success were comparable among primers designed for the three source species, ranging from a mean success rate per species of 16.9 loci (± 0.8 SE) for Chaetodon trifascialis source loci to 13.7 loci (± 1.5 SE) for C. vagabundus source loci. Polymorphism rates were high (76.1%± 3.1 SE of all successfully amplified loci), and 10 loci were polymorphic in all successfully amplified species (Tri14, B11, C5, D3, D113, D6, D117, D120, D111, D118). The number of alleles per polymorphic locus ranged from 2 to 8, and the average number of alleles across all polymorphic loci and all species was 3.6 (± 0.07 SE). Polymorphism rates were higher overall in primers designed for C. vagabundus (89.9%± 3.9 SE). Overall cross-testing success was lowest for Heniochus chrysostomus, the most phylogenetically divergent species. The significant cross-testing reported here provides a valuable resource that will enable population genetics studies to be undertaken on a range of butterflyfishes without the need for expensive and time-consuming de novo microsatellite development.