This aberrant moorish idol from Segrest Farms is a specimen the likes of which we never expected to see. There’s only one species of moorish idol, Zanclus canescens, and it is placed in its own family Zanclidae, which split off from the surgeonfish eons ago. Either way, this moorish idol doesn’t just have abnormal color but also a very unusual shape.
Despite its orange face and superficial resemblance, there’s now way this fish could have crossed with a completely unrelated copperband butterflyfish. However it can’t be ruled out that this fish is not only xanthic, but also aberrant in shape as well. An even wilder explanation would be that the apparent Xanthism and unusual shape could be the result of unpredictable epigenetics that could be in play.
Whatever happens to this fish, we hope it goes on display at a public institution for further observation and even to teach visitors about weird marine fish. We look forward to hearing more about this fish and especially to follow up with some better side profile pictures once this very special fish comes out of quarantine. Big thanks and congrats to Segrest Farms for scoring this fish, let’s see what they do with it next.