Home > Fishes > Zanclus cornutus

Updated 6/16/2024

Family Zanclidae

Moorish Idol

The Moorish Idol is related to Surgeonfishes and Tangs sharing the same tough skin, tiny scales, and brush-like teeth ideal for grazing upon sponges and hydroids.  In Hawaii they are found singly or in small groups.  There is only one species.

 

INDO-WEST PACIFIC / HAWAII

EAST PACIFIC

Zanclus cornutus

Makena, Maui, 25 feet

 

Palea Point, Oahu, 25 feet

Sea Tiger Wreck, Oahu, 95 feet

Juveniles, Ft. Kamehemeha, Oahu, 4 feet

 

Sea Tiger Wreck, Oahu, 95 feet

Juvenile, Ft. Kamehemeha, Oahu, 4 feet

 

Kewalo Pipe, Oahu, 50 feet

 

Molokini Back Wall, 50 feet

100-foot Hole, Waikiki, Oahu, 85 feet

 



Double thread, Blowhole, Oahu, 20 feet

Juvenile, Makapu'u, Oahu, 15 feet



Post-larva
   

 MOORISH IDOL        kihikihi

Common on reefs at any depth singly or in small groups.  Scales are minute and not visible to the naked eye when compared to the Pennantfish, Heniochus.  Feeds upon sponge and encrusting invertebrates.  Attains 9 inches.  East Africa to Japan, Hawaii, Pitcairn, Mexico to Peru.  Zanclus canescens is a synonym.