Other Free Encyclopedias » Animal Life Resource » Fish and Other Cold-Blooded Vertebrates » Surgeonfishes and Relatives: Acanthuroidei - Behavior And Reproduction, Surgeonfishes And Their Relatives And People, Lined Surgeonfish (acanthurus Lineatus): Species Accounts - PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS, GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, CONSERVATION STATU

Surgeonfishes and Relatives: Acanthuroidei - Moorish Idol (zanclus Cornutus): Species Accounts

idols live white fish

Physical characteristics: Moorish idols have a disk-like body that is narrow from side to side. The third spine in the dorsal fin is very long and whiplike. These fish have three up-and-down bands of white and yellow alternating with two bands of black. The tail fin is black and fringed with white or yellowish white. The snout has a small patch of yellow and a band of white. The snout is tubular. Adult Moorish idols grow to a length of at least 6 inches (15 centimeters).

Geographic range: Moorish idols live in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Habitat: Moorish idols live in coral and rocky reefs and in lagoons.

Diet: Moorish idols eat bottom-dwelling invertebrates, especially sponges.

Behavior and reproduction: Moorish idols live alone, in pairs, or in small groups, but large groups may gather for spawning. Scientists Moorish idols eat bottom-dwelling invertebrates, especially sponges. (Illustration by Joseph E. Trumpey. Reproduced by permission.) know little about the reproduction of Moorish idols. These fish spawn in pairs in small or possibly large groups. Eggs and larvae float freely.

Moorish idols and people: Moorish idols are collected for aquariums but do not do well in captivity. They are eaten by people who live near where the fish live.

Conservation status: Moorish idols are not threatened or endangered. ∎



Gilbert, Carter Rowell, and James D. Williams. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Fishes: North America. New York: Knopf, 2002.

Web sites:

"Marine Life Profile: Moorish Idol." Waikiki Aquarium Education Department. http://waquarium.mic.hawaii.edu/MLP/root/pdf/MarineLife/Vertebrates/MoorishIdol.pdf (accessed on November 4, 2004).

Wood, Lori. "The Yellow Tang." WhoZoo. http://www.whozoo.org/Anlife99/loriwood/tang3.htm (accessed on November 4, 2004).

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