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    (Click here to return to Creatures)


    Indigenous
    (Found In Hawai'i
    and Elsewhere)
    Common Name:Kihikihi (key-he-key-he) - Moorish Idol
    The Kihikihi, or Moorish Idol
    Scientific:Zanclus cornutus
    Size:Up to 8 inches
    Special:The only member of the Family Zanclidae
    Habitat:Coastal tidal pools and reefs

    The Kihikihi, or Moorish Idol, as it is more popularly referred to, is one of the classic and more striking fish easily found around the coasts of Hawai'i from sea level down to 600 feet. Vivid light yellow-white and black stripes adorn the fish and each pointed nose has a bright streak of orange.

    Kihikihi are very fast and agile swimmers and can change direction very quickly. They tend to be more aggressive and often seem curious to swimmers in the area.

    The primary source of food for KihiKihi are sponges that grow in the coral reefs and tidal pools. They fetch the sponges from crevices using the longer jaw they have developed.

    While Kihikihi are most often seen as individuals, they can swim in schools of 4 to 6 individuals.


    A small school of Kihikihi


    In the mouth of a cave


    Kihikihi in the Tidal Pools

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    All images and content, unless otherwise indicated, are © 2004-2017 InstantHawaii / David Cook
    Nene photo in top graphics by Brenda Zaun