Thai National Parks

Species of Thailand

Schooling bannerfish

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.

This article uses material from Wikipedia released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike Licence 3.0. Eventual photos shown in this page may or may not be from Wikipedia, please see the license details for photos in photo by-lines.

Scientific classification

Heniochus diphreutes

Conservation status

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)

Least Concern (IUCN3.1)


Please help us review our species pages if wrong photos are used or any other details in the page is wrong. We can be reached via our contact us page.

Schooling bannerfish

Range Map

Distribution map of Schooling bannerfish, Heniochus diphreutes in Thailand
  • Similan Islands
  • Surin Islands
Range map of Heniochus diphreutes in Thailand