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Species guide

Moorish idol

Scientific name: Zanclus cornutus

DESCRIPTION:
The moorish idol is a fish with a high body compressed on the sides. Its colouring is light yellow and white with dark bands. It has a protractile beak with a small mouth and sharp teeth, used to seek food among the grooves and cracks of the coral.
Its maximum size is 25 cm.

BIOLOGY:
It is a fish of gregarious habits that lives in a group.
It feeds mainly on sponges.
It has oviparous reproduction, that is, it lays eggs.

HABITAT:
The moorish idol lives on coral and rocky reefs. From inside ports to depths of up to 182 m.

DISTRIBUTION:
It is found in Eastern Africa, Mexico, Japan and Hawaii.

STATUS:
Species not evaluated (according to the red list of endangered species).

CURIOSITIES:
Its common name comes from its veneration by certain moslem Arab populations. When they catch it they return it to the sea very ceremoniously.