Introducing our February 2021 Fish of the Month, the Moorish Idol (Zanclus cornutus), also known as Gill from Finding Nemo.
Survey Regions: The Moorish Idol has a wide distribution throughout the tropical Pacific and is even in the top 10 most frequently reported species in four REEF regions - Hawaii, South Pacific, Central Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean-Red Sea. Check out the Moorish Idol's distribution reports for each of the five survey regions where it is found: Hawaii (HAW) , South Pacific (SOP), Central Indo-Pacific (CIP), Indian Ocean-Red Sea (IORS), and Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP).
Size: They grow to about 8 inches.
Identifying Features: Moorish Idols have alternating black and yellow bands, and a pointed snout with a yellow-orange saddle. They are easily recognizable due to their unique body shape and long, trailing dorsal fin.
Fun Facts: The Moorish Idol is the sole member of the Zanclidae family. Its family and genus name come from the Greek word "zanclus" which means sickle - a tribute to their long, trailing sickle-shaped dorsal filament. They can be seen alone on in large schools and feed primarily on sponges.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for our next Fish of the Month!
[Photo by Jeff Haines]