Moorish Idol

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    The Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus) is frequently seen in small schools on Pacific and Indian Ocean coral reefs. This species is closely related to surgeonfish. They are often confused with the butterflyfish and bannerfish.

    In their natural habitat, they feed on small invertebrates and algae. They use their small brushlike teeth and snout for browsing in crevices and small holes.


    The broad vertical black and yellow bars on a white background and elongated dorsal fin filament that gracefully traces behind them make it a very attractive fish. Juveniles have spines at the corner of mouth and protruberances in front of eyes in adults. It reaches a length of about 22 cm.

    As Pets

    Adults may be difficult to keep in an aquarium, while juveniles adapt to captivity more easily. The species is omnivorous, feeding on a variety of benthic invertebrates (sponges, tunicates, brittle stars, crustaceans, worms, bivalves, gastropods) and detritus.

    Video Credits: Brock Leonard
    Image Credits: Brocken Inaglory, WikiMedia


    1. Phillip C. Heemstra, Elaine Heemstra – Coastal Fishes of Southern Africa
    2. Alay Mehta – Havelock Island


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