Moorish idol
  • Zanclus cornutus
  • English Name : Moorish idol
  • Local Name : Dhidha mas
  • Size : Max. 22 cm
  • Family : ZANCLIDAE
  • Order : Perciformes
  • Distinctive Characters: Dorsal fin with 7 spines and 40-43 rays. Anal fin with 3 spines and 33-35 rays. Pectoral fin with 19 rays. Body depth 1.0-1.4 in standard length. Body compressed. Third dorsal spine extremely long and filamentous. Snout slender and projecting.
  • Colour: White anteriorly, yellow posteriorly. Two broad black bars, one from nape to thorax and abdomen (enclosing eye) and the other curving across posterior body and entering dorsal and anal fins. A black-edged orange saddle on snout. Caudal fin largely black.
  • Habitat and Biology: Occurs on coral reefs over a large depth range, from the shallows to at least 180 m. Omnivorous, but feeds more on benthic animal material, such as sponges more than algae.
  • Distribution: Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific.
  • Remarks: Zanclus cornutus is the only species in the family. It is often favoured by aquarists. Z. canescens (Linnaeus) is a synonym based on the post-larval stage (to 8 cm).