The majestic Zanclus cornutus, more famously known as the Moorish idol, is one of the most popular fish among saltwater aquarium enthusiasts all over the world. The only member of the Zanclidae family, the Moorish idol is commonly sighted in the exotic Indo-Pacific waters. The Moorish idol is often mistaken for a butterfly fish, due to some very similar features.
Moorish Idol Habitat
Despite its popularity among aquarium hobbyists, the Moorish idol, like most fish, is best suited in its natural habitat, particularly because of the creature’s acute sensitivity to water temperature. Commonly found in depths of 3m to 180m in both clear and cloudy waters, the Moorish idol is usually spotted swimming alone because it tends to fight with other Moorish idols.
Moorish Idol Appearance
Adult Moorish idols grow to an average length of 4-6 inches, although some can reach up to 9 inches. Its distinct features are a long dorsal fin end with a thread-like tip, a long snout, three bold black bands over the eye to ventral fins, rear body, and on the tail.
Moorish Idol Diet
In its natural habitat, the Moorish idol is usually found on flat reefs preying on sponges, tunicates, and other small invertebrates to satisfy its rather indifferent appetite. In captivity, the Moorish idol can be a far pickier eater.
Moorish Idol Behaviour Toward Scuba Divers
Moorish idols are quite harmless marine creatures and safe to dive around with. The Moorish idol is not an endangered species and as such is not on the IUCN list of threatened species.
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