Zanclus cornutus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Zanclus cornutus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Scientific Name: Zanclus cornutus

English Name: Moorish idol

Creole Name: Paviyon

French Name: Cocher blanc

IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern (LC)


Dorsal spines: 6-7; Dorsal rays: 39-43; Anal spines: 3; Anal rays: 31-37.
Body discoid, very deep and very compressed. Tubular snout with a small mouth containing numerous elongate bristle-like teeth. Adults with a sharp bony projection in front of each eye. Elongated sickle-shaped dorsal fin, third dorsal-fin spine extremely long and filamentous. Caudal fin emarginate. Small scales with row of erect ctenii giving skin texture of fine sandpaper. 
Colour. White anteriorly, yellow posteriorly with two broad black bars. The first nearly enclosing the eye in its anterior part and broadening ventrally to include chest, pelvic fins, and half of abdomen. The second black bar extends into both dorsal and anal fins and is transected in its posterior portion by vertical narrow white line. A black-edged orange saddle on snout and black chin. Dorsal fin white except for intrusion of upper part of second black bar and a yellow zone posterior to it. Caudal fin black edged by a narrow white bar anteriorly on the peduncle and a white arc posterior posteriorly on the fin followed by hyaline margin. 


Maturity: Lm unknown. Range unknown. Max Length: 23cm TL. Commonly to 21cm TL. 

Habitat and Ecology:

Inhabit lagoons and coastal and offshore rocky and coral reefs (depth 3-182m). Omnivorous but feeds primarily on encrusting sponges. Often seen in pairs and sometimes forms aggregations.

Fishery Status:

This species is not protected or subject to fishery regulations. It is occasionally caught in the fish trap fishery, but is generally released when caught. 


Bray, D.J. 2018. Zanclus cornutus in Fishes of Australia, (20/08/19).

Carpenter, K.E. et al 2016. Zanclus cornutus. The IUCN Red List 2016: e.T69741115A69742744. (20/08/19).

Froese, R. & D. Pauly. Eds. 2019. FishBase. (20/08/19).

Randall, J.E. (1995). Zanclus cornutus Linnaeus, 1758 - FAO. (20/08/19).


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