Published April 30, 2016 | Diving, Duiken

Much confusion in wording about the Schooling Bannerfish.

Let’s find out why:

The Schooling Bannerfish (Heniochus diphreutes) are named like this because they are living in large groups. They are family of the well known Butterfly fish who is living mostly in the Indo-Pacific.

Often the Schooling Banner fishes are confused with the Moorish Idol. You can find them from the east of Africa, including the Red sea, up to Polynesia and Hawaii. But also from the south of Japan to the north of New Zealand.

Interesting facts about the Schooling Bannerfish

  • They can grow up to a size of 18-21 cm. and you can find them between a depth of 5-30 meters. Sometimes there are locations that they are spotted on depths around 210 meters….
  • The Schooling Bannerfish eat plankton, but the younger Schooling Bannerfish can act as a cleaner fish.
  • They have been seen as a cleaner fish for many fishes such as the Mola-Mola and the Manta Ray which you can find here on our little island Nusa Lembongan. The Schooling Bannerfish will help the Mola Mola and or the Manta Ray to remove dead skin and to clean the wounded spots and free them of parasites.

Do we call them Moorish Idol or Schooling Bannerfish?

moorish idol

Shooling bannerfish

People sometimes confuse them with Moorish Idol and the Pennant Coralfish, because they are looking the same. They are all having a long white dorsal fin and the white background with black stripes. But the difference is that the Schooling Bannerfish has a shorter snout and an yellow dorsal, caudal and pectoral fins.

So next time when you go out on a scuba dive trip, see if you can spot the differences between a Moorish Idol or the Schooling Bannerfish

Scuba Center Asia 

Nusa Lembongan