Pearly Cardinalfish, Zoramia perlita Fraser & Lachner 1985

A Pearly Cardinalfish, Zoramia perlita, in the Raja Ampat Islands, West Papua, Indonesia. Source: Gerald R. Allen / FishBase. License: All rights reserved

A semi-transparent cardinalfish with a pearl sheen, a paler stripe interiorly along the vertebral column, a yellow eye, a dusky stripe from the snout to the eye, and a small black spot on the tail base.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Zoramia perlita in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Nov 2019,

Pearly Cardinalfish, Zoramia perlita Fraser & Lachner 1985

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Seringatapam Reef, Western Australia, and Cartier Reef, Timor Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, west-central Pacific: Andaman Sea to Papua New Guinea and Palau, south to Australia.
Forms aggregations just above branching corals on coastal, often silty reefs or in shallow lagoons.


Characterized by having a black alimentary canal; six first dorsal spines; nine soft anal fin rays; a very small basicaudal spot; a dark gular mark; the side of caudal peduncle with a cluster of diffuse melanophores; 4 to 8 short, dark, vertical lines on body just above base of anal fin; and the second dorsal fin is not produced as a filament.


The specific name perlitus is a Latin word meaning smeared or bedaubed, in reference to the large, dark, diffuse cluster of chromatophores on the caudal peduncle.

Species Citation

Apogon perlitus Fraser & Lachner 1985, Smithson. Contrib. Zool. 412: 38, fig. 15. Type locality: Kayangel Lagoon, Palau, Caroline Islands. 


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Pearly Cardinalfish, Zoramia perlita Fraser & Lachner 1985


Allen, G.R. 1996. New records of reef and shore fishes from northwestern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 18: 109-112 

Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls. 

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. 

Fraser, T.H. & Lachner, E.A. 1985. A revision of the cardinalfish subgenera Pristiapogon and Zoramia (genus Apogon) of the Indo-Pacific region (Teleostei: Apogonidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 412: 1-47 

Greenfield, D.W., Langston, R.C. & Randall, J.E. 2005. Two new cardinalfishes of the Indo-Pacific fish genus Zoramia (Apogonidae). Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 56(33): 625-637 

Mabuchi, K., Fraser, T.H., Song, H., Azuma, Y. & Nishida, M. 2014. Revision of the systematics of the cardinalfishes (Percomorpha: Apogonidae) based on molecular analyses and comparative reevaluation of morphological characters. Zootaxa 3846(2): 151–203

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327144

Biology:Mouth brooders (males)

Depth:1-15 m

Max Size:5.5 cm TL

Max Size:Reef associated

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CAAB distribution map