Schooling bannerfish

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Schooling bannerfish
Heniochus diphreutes by NPS.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Chaetodontidae
Genus: Heniochus
H. diphreutes
Binomial name
Heniochus diphreutes

The schooling bannerfish (Heniochus diphreutes), also known as the false moorish idol, is a butterflyfish native to the Indo-Pacific area.


Schooling on a wreck, Taba, Egypt.

The schooling bannerfish is a small fish that can reach a maximum length of 18–21 cm.[2][3]

Its body is compressed laterally, and the first rays of its dorsal fin stretch in a long white filament. Its background color is white with two large black diagonal bands. Beyond the second black stripe, the dorsal, caudal fins and pectoral fins are yellow. The head is white, the eyes are black and linked together by a black to gray band. The short snout, spotted with black to gray, has a small terminal, extensible mouth.

A comparison of three similar species: moorish idol (left), schooling bannerfish (top), and pennant coralfish (bottom)

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The schooling bannerfish is widespread throughout the tropical, subtropical and temperate waters of the Indo-Pacific from the eastern coast of Africa, Red Sea included, to Polynesia and Hawaii and from south Japan to Kermadec Islands (New Zealand).[1][2]

The schooling bannerfish prefers external reef slopes and channels. It has a large depth range and is usually observed at 5–30 m depth, but may reach 210 meters deep in some localities.[2][4]


As is indicated by its common name, the schooling bannerfish lives in large groups. It feeds on zooplankton in the open water, and juveniles may act as cleaner fish.[2][3][5]

Conservation status[edit]

In some geographic areas, the schooling bannerfish is harvested for the aquarium trade and is commonly sold as a cheaper alternative to the Moorish idol. However, there do not appear to be any major current threats to this species, and it is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Rocha, L.A., Pyle, R., Myers, R., Craig, M.T., Pratchett, M. & Carpenter, K.E. (2010). "Heniochus diphreutes". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2010: e.T165683A6090332. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Lieske & Myers,Coral reef fishes,Princeton University Press, 2009, ISBN 9780691089959
  3. ^ a b Kuiter, R.H. and T. Tonozuka, 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 2. Fusiliers - Dragonets, Caesionidae - Callionymidae. Zoonetics, Australia. 304-622 p.
  4. ^ Allen, G.R. and M.V. Erdmann, 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth, Australia: Universitiy of Hawai'i Press, Volumes I-III. Tropical Reef Research.
  5. ^ Rudie Kuiter, “Chaetodontidae & Microcanthidae”, Aquatic Photographics, 2004, ISBN 0953909735