The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Heniochus diphreutes
Heniochus diphreutes
(pennant coralfish)
Marine Fishes

Copyright Info
Heniochus diphreutes Jordan, 1903

Common name: pennant coralfish

Synonyms and Other Names: schooling bannerfish, false Moorish idol

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Randall (2007) described the fish as white with two broad oblique black bands on the sides. The first band is continuous with the black pelvic fins and the second band ends of the posterior half of the anal fin. There is a black bar above the eye. The pectoral fins, soft dorsal fin and most of the tail fin are yellow. The dorsal fin extends as a long pennant like filament that is as long or longer than the body (Randall et al. 1990).

Heniochus diphreutes is nearly identical in coloration and body shape to H. acuminatus. This species can be distinguished from H. acuminatus based on dorsal spine count (12 as opposed to 11), less protruding snout, longer pelvic fins, and shorter anal fins (Allen and Kuiter 1978). Heniochus diphreutes has a more rounded profile under the head than H. acuminatus (Randall et al. 1990). Heniochus diphreutes has a similar body shape to H. intermedius, but H. intermedius is distinguished by its more yellowish body color and placement of the first black band next to the eye (Allen et al. 1998).

Size: Maximum to 21 cm total length (Allen et al. 1998)

Native Range: The species is widespread throughout the Indo-West and Central Pacific from East Africa and the Red Sea to the western Pacific rim, found from southern Japan to the Hawaiian Islands and on the east and west coast of Australia (Allen et al. 1998).

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Individuals identified as Heniochus diphreutes were observed in 2011, 2016, and 2017 off the coast of Broward County, Florida. There are several records of additional Heniochus species, all from southeastern Florida.

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Heniochus diphreutes are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
FL201120172Florida Southeast Coast; Floridian
HI200720194Hawaii; Maui; Niihau; Oahu

Table last updated 6/12/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Heniochus diphreutes form large midwater schools in sandy areas with scattered shelter unlike the more solitary H. acuminatus which is usually found alone or in pairs near the bottom edge of coral and rocky reefs (Allen and Kuiter 1978). This species feeds primarily on zooplankton and occasionally cleans other fish (Randall et al. 1990).

Means of Introduction: Possible through the aquarium trade.

Status: Unknown

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

References: (click for full references)

Allen, G.R. and Kuiter, R.H. 1978. Heniochus diphreutes Jordan, a valid species of butterflyfish (Chaetodontidae) from the Indo-West Pacific. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 81(1):11-18.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R. and Allen, M. 1998. A Guide to Angelfishes and Butterflyfishes. Odyssey Publishing (USA)/Tropical Reef Research (Australia).

Randall, J.E. 2007. Reef and Shore Fishes of the Hawaiian Islands. University of Hawaii Sea Grant College Program, Honolulu.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R., and Steene, R.C. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu.

Other Resources:

Author: Brown, M.E., and P.J. Schofield

Revision Date: 3/22/2021

Citation Information:
Brown, M.E., and P.J. Schofield, 2024, Heniochus diphreutes Jordan, 1903: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=2844, Revision Date: 3/22/2021, Access Date: 6/12/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [6/12/2024].

Contact us if you are using data from this site for a publication to make sure the data are being used appropriately and for potential co-authorship if warranted.

For general information and questions about the database, contact Wesley Daniel. For problems and technical issues, contact Matthew Neilson.