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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sea Things #33: Moorish Idol

Sea Things is a regular feature on my blog where I profile a different sea creature. Look for it weekly, or something close to weekly.

Moorish Idols, or Zanclus cornutus are pretty common in the Indo-Pacific. In fact, we saw them all over the place in Hawaii. Coming up after one of our first dives, I said to Todd, "You know, I think Moorish Idols are going to be my new Queen Angel in the Pacific." What I meant was, they're pretty common, we see them a lot, but they're also skittish and tough to get close to. You may recognize the Moorish Idol as Gill from Finding Nemo.

They are such pretty fish! They get to be about 7 inches in size, and are often seen in pairs. In fact, they mate for life. They eat sponges, tunicates and invertebrates.

They're popular as aquarium fishes, but don't live long in captivity. I don't know of a diver hand signal for them, but I haven't spent enough time in the Pacific to have learned all of the hand signals. Anyway, they're common enough that probably they don't need one.

Is there a creature that you would like to see featured in Sea Things? If so, shoot me an email and if I can, I'll write about it. Photos on this post are courtesy of Todd Krebs.

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