Zanclus cornutus

Moorish idol
Zanclus cornutus
Zanclus cornutus, adult, Photo: Ian Shaw
Zanclus cornutus
Zanclus cornutus, juvenile, Coral Sea, Australia, Photo: Rick Stuart-Smith
Zanclus cornutus
Zanclus cornutus, Photo: Rick Stuart-Smith
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Zanclus cornutus
Zanclus cornutus
Zanclus cornutus


Tropical Indo-Pacific


Distinctive high body with black, white and yellow bands, long tubular snout with a black-edged orange patch near base, and long white filament on dorsal fin. Similar Heniochus species (Bannerfishes) have longer bodies and shorter snouts. Usually seen solitary or in pairs, but occasionally forms large aggregations.


Max Size: 23 cm

Sea Temperature Range: 18.4-31.2°C

Depth: 3-182 m

Habitat Generalization Index: 26.4

Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.

Conservation and Rarity

IUCN Status: Not Evaluated

Occurrence: Common (36.5% of sites)

Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed

Abundance: Few (2 per transect)

Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.

Edit by: RD Stuart-Smith, GJ Edgar, AJ Green, IV Shaw. 2015. Tropical Marine Fishes of Australia. Reed New Holland