Moorish Idol


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Moorish Idol is the only species in the Zanclidae family. They are widely distributed in Indo-Pacific and Eastern Pacific sea. They have strongly compressed body that almost resemble the butterflyfishes. They have tubular snout with a small mouth containing numerous elongate bristle-like teeth. Their dorsal spines are elongated into a whip-like filament. They also have similarity with surgeonfishes where their larvae live for a long time in the open sea. They are found in turbid inner lagoons, reef flats, and clear seaward rocky and coral reefs. They mainly feed on sponges and benthic invertebrates.

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Scientific Name: Zanclus cornutus  (Linnaeus, 1758)
English Name: Moorish Idol
Mandarin Name: 角镰鱼 (Jiǎo lián yú), 灰镰鱼 (Huī lián yú)
Local Malay Name: Bagang Moorish, Ikan Layang-layang
Size: Maximum total length 23 cm.