Heniochus is a genus of marine ray-finned fish, butterflyfishes from the family Chaetodontidae. They are native to the Indo-Pacific. Though very similar in appearance to the Moorish idol (Zanclus cornutus), the members of this genus are not closely related to it.

Pennant coralfish melb aquarium edit2.jpg
Pennant coralfish, Heniochus acuminatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Chaetodontidae
Genus: Heniochus
G. Cuvier, 1816
Type species
Chaetodon macrolepidotus
Linnaeus, 1758[1]


Heniochus species are distinguished within the Chaetodontidae by having the fourth spine in the dorsal fin elongated, or even forming a filament. The supraorbital crests in adults have spines or horn-like protuberances. They normally have a hump, or at least a robust bony growth on the nape.[2]


Heniochus is Greek for a “carriage driver” or “coachman” and is a reference to the long, filamentous 4th dorsal spine of these fish, resembling the whip of a coachman.[3]


There are currently eight recognized species in this genus:[4]

Pictorial identificationEdit


  1. ^ a b Eschmeyer, William N.; Fricke, Ron & van der Laan, Richard (eds.). "Genera in the family Chaetodontidae". Catalog of Fishes. California Academy of Sciences. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  2. ^ R. Pyle (2001). Kent E. Carpenter; Volker H. Niem (eds.). "CHAETODONTIDAE" (PDF). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. FAO, Rome. ISBN 92-5-104302-7.
  3. ^ Christopher Scharpf & Kenneth J. Lazara (21 July 2020). "Order ACANTHURIFORMES (part 1): Families LOBOTIDAE, POMACANTHIDAE, DREPANEIDAE and CHAETODONTIDAE". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
  4. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). Species of Heniochus in FishBase. February 2013 version.