Moorish Idols – Species of the Reef


Moorish Idol - Fish on the Reef


The Moorish Idol is a common fish around the reefs and prefer to swim around the top of the corals feeding on sponges, and small invertebrates. Our snorkellers and divers often encounter the idol as it grazes amongst the coral gardens of the Great Barrier Reef.

It is easily recognized as it has a thin body with a round shape. This is highlighted but very distinctive yellow and black bands with white contrasts that run vertically up the body. During the night these colours actually become more dull and sink to the base of the reef for protection from predators. They also have several long dorsal spines that extend from the main part of the fin to flow over the back of the idol.

These fish are very popular with aquarium owners because of their bright colours and trailing dorsal fin. However they are notoriously difficult to keep alive, they can be very picky eaters and require large tanks as well as good water quality.

Moorish Idols mate for life. The release their eggs to drift where they drift until their larvae reaches about 7cm or 3in, when they as juveniles start to swim on their own and develop into mature adults.

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1 Comment »

  1. Zanclus cornutus? Beautiful pic of PIXAR’s stars.

    Comment by Mauricio — November 20, 2011 @ 1:10 am

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