The Moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus "Crowned Scythe" Linnaeus, 1758) is the only extant member of the family Zanclidae (order Perciformes). The Moorish idol got its name from the Moors of Africa, who purportedly believe the fish to be a bringer of happiness. One of the most beautiful sea fish - Moorish idol is a small marine fish species. Some authors and scientist place it in the family Acanthuridae (the surgeonfishes), though it differs from members of this group conspicuously in its lack of peduncular spines. It has also been placed (much more erroneously) in the family Chaetodontidae (the butterflyfishes).
|A pair of beautiful Moorish idol|
The Moorish idol is a saltwater fish coming from the Indian Ocean or
Pacific Ocean. A common inhabitant of tropical to
subtropical reefs and lagoons, the Moorish idol is notable for its wide
distribution throughout the Indo-Pacific. A number of butterfly fishes (genus
Heniochus) closely resemble the Moorish idol. It is closely related to, if not
a direct descendant of the extinct Eozanclus brevirhostris, from the Middle
Eocene of Monte Bolca.
One of the most difficult fish to keep in a home aquarium (and very expensive as well), to most aquarists these fish are the pinnacle of the hobby. Moorish idols are also popular aquarium fish, but despite their popularity, they are notorious for short aquarium lifespan and sensitivity.
Often seen alone, Moorish idols also form pairs or occasionally small schools, especially as juveniles. They are diurnal fish, sticking to the bottom of the reef at night, adopting a drab coloration.