Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Zanclus cornutus, Moorish idol

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snout long, slender
broad black & white bars
D: front - very long filament

Zanclus cornutus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Moorish idol

Body round, strongly compressed; snout long, slender, pointed; mouth small, the teeth slender and slightly incurved; a pair of bony horns before eyes; dorsal fin VII, 40-43, long filament from 3rd  spine; anal rays III, 33-35; pectoral rays 19; tail base without spines or keels; tail fin concave.

White anteriorly, yellow posteriorly, with two broad black bars, one from the nape to thorax, the other on the rear of the body and the dorsal and anal fins; dorsal fin filament white; a black, orange-bordered saddle on the snout; tail fin black, with white rear edge.

Size: to 30 cm

Habitat: rocky and coral reefs.

Depth: 3-180 m.

Indo-Pacific; the southern Gulf of California to Peru and all the oceanic islands.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom only
  • Bottom
  • Corals
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Rocks
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef only
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • Benthic microalgae
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Data
Egg Type
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • TEP non-endemic
  • Indo-Pacific only (Indian + Pacific Oceans)
  • All species
  • "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific)
  • All Pacific (West + Central + East)
Regional Endemism
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Eastern Pacific non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • Continent
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 30
Depth Range Min
  • 3
Depth Range Max
  • 180