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Marine spacies of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Schooling bannerfish

Binomial name: Heniochus diphreutes, David Starr Jordan, 1903

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


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

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.

Distribution and habitat

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).

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.


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.

Conservation status

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.

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Scientific classification

Heniochus diphreutes

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Range map of Heniochus diphreutes in Thailand

Important note; our range maps are based on limited data we have collected. The data is not necessarily accurate or complete.

Special thanks to Ton Smits, Parinya Pawangkhanant, Ian Dugdale and many others for their contribution for range data.

It is free to use this map on various media. See the creative common license terms by clicking "CC" icon below the map. But remember, again; the map may not be accurate or complete.

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