Moorish Idol, Zanclus cornutus (Linnaeus 1758)


A Moorish Idol, Zanclus cornutus, at North Solitary Island, New South Wales, October 2013. Source: Ian Shaw / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Summary:
A strikingly reef fish with a strongly compressed disc-like body, a tubular snout, bony projections above the eyes (adults), and an elongated sickle-shaped dorsal fin. The Moorish Idol has two broad black bars on the body, and a yellow saddle across the snout.
It is the only species in the family Zanclidae.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2018, Zanclus cornutus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Aug 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1891

Moorish Idol, Zanclus cornutus (Linnaeus 1758)

More Info


Distribution

Known in Australia from Rottnest Island to Cassini Island, and offshore reefs of Western Australia, Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and from the northern Great Barrier Reef Queensland, to Bittangabee Bay, south of Eden, New South Wales. The species also occurs at Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, and Lord Howe Island, Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere, the Moorish Idol is widespread in the tropical, Indo-Pacific.
Inhabits coastal and offshore rocky and coral reefs, including lagoons. The species is often seen in pairs, although it may form aggregations.

Features

Dorsal fin VI-VII, 39-43; Anal fin III, 31-37. 
Body strongly compressed, disc-like in shape; dorsal fin with elongate filaments; mouth small, tubular, with numerous elongate bristle-like teeth.

Feeding

Feeds mostly on encrusting sponges, as well as consuming coral polyps, tunicates and other benthic invertebrates.

Fisheries

Although popular with aquarists, the Moorish Idol is difficult to keep in captivity, due to its primary diet of encrusting sponges.

Etymology

Zanclus is from the Greek word for "sickle", in reference to the sickle-shaped dorsal fin. The species name cornutus is from Latin and means 'horn, in reference to the bony projections over the eyes of adults.

Species Citation

Chaetodon cornutus Linnaeus, 1758, Systema Naturae: 273. Type locality: Indies.

Author

Bray, D.J. 2018

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Moorish Idol, Zanclus cornutus (Linnaeus 1758)

References


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2

Allen, G.R. & Russell, B.C. 1986. Part VII Fishes. 79-103 in Berry, P.F. (ed.) Faunal Surveys of the Rowley Shoals, Scott Reef and Seringapatam Reef, northwestern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement25: 1-106.

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Carpenter, K.E., Lawrence, A. & Myers, R. 2016. Zanclus cornutus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T69741115A69742744. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T69741115A69742744.en. Downloaded on 27 November 2018.

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93 in Hutchings, P. (ed.). Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 pp.

Hutchins, J.B. 2003. Checklist of marine fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. pp. 453-478 in Wells, F.E., Walker, D.I., & Jones, D.S. (eds). Proceedings of the Eleventh International Marine Biological Workshop: The Marine Flora and Fauna of Dampier, Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum.

Hutchins, J.B., Williams, D.McB., Newman, S.J., Cappo, M. & Speare, P. 1995. New records of fishes for the Rowley Shoals and Scott/Seringapatam Reefs, off north-western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 17: 119-123.

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. & Debelius, H. 2001. Surgeonfishes, Rabbitfishes and Their Relatives. A comprehensive guide to Acanthuroidei. Chorleywood, U.K. : TMC Publishing 208 pp.

Linnaeus, C. 1758. Systema Naturae per Regna tria Naturae, secundem Classes, Ordines, Genera, Species, cum Characteribus, Differentis, Synonymis, Locis. Tom.1 Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae : Laurentii Salvii 824 pp.

Oxley, W.G., Ayling, A.M., Cheal, A.J. & Osborne, K. 2004. Marine surveys undertaken in the Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs Marine National Nature Reserve, December 2003. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Sciences 64 pp.

Oxley, W.G., Ayling, A.M., Cheal, A.J. & Thompson, A.A. 2003. Marine surveys undertaken in the Coringa-Herald National Nature Reserve, March-April 2003. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Science 59 pp.

Oxley, W.G., Emslie, M., Muir, P. & Thompson, A.A. 2004. Marine surveys undertaken in the Lihou Reef National Nature Reserve, March 2004. Townsville : Australian Institute of Marine Science i-vii, 1-67 pp.

Randall, J.E. 2001. Zanclidae, Acanthuridae. pp. 3651-3683 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 6 pp. 3381-4218.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2

Russell, B.C., Larson, H.K., Hutchins, J.B. & Allen, G.R. 2005. Reef fishes of the Sahul Shelf. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory Supplement 1 2005: 83-105.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37437001

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-182 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:23 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map