Zanclus cornutus (Moorish idol)


Conspicuous fish with 3 broad black bars and 2 yellow to white bars, a long, thin and wavering dorsal fin filament and protruding snout. They can be seen in pairs or groups, sometimes solitary.


Unassessed by the IUCN Red list.


Indo-Pacific. East Africa to Rapa and Ducie islands, north to southern Japan and the Hawaiian Islands, south to the Lord Howe Island. Eastern Pacific: southern Gulf of California down south to Peru. They live in murky lagoons, reef flats and outer reefs, in a depth range 5-180 meters.


Moorish idols have a long larval stage before they turn into juveniles at a size of 7,5cm.


Up to 16cm.

Prey / Predation

They feed on sponges.

Special features

The long larval/planktonic stage explains their wide distribution and lack of geographical variation in color pattern.