Longspine Cardinalfish, Zoramia leptacantha (Bleeker 1856)

Other Names: Long-spine Cardinal, Long-spine Cardinalfish, Threadfin Cardinalfish, Thread-fin Cardinal-fish

Longspine Cardinalfish, Zoramia leptacantha, at Ra, Fiji, March 2015. Source: Mark Rosenstein / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A semi-transparent pale cardinalfish with a tall first dorsal fin, bright blue and orange bars on the rear of the head and anterior and anterior body, a blue iris, and a narrow whitish line along the upper back. 
This species was previously known as Apogon leptacanthus.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Zoramia leptacantha in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Oct 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/3481

Longspine Cardinalfish, Zoramia leptacantha (Bleeker 1856)

More Info


Offshore reefs of Western Australia, from Rowley Shoals to AUS territory of Ashmore Reef, Timor Sea, and the northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species occurs in the Red Sea and Indo-west-central Pacific, from East Africa and the Seychelles, eastwards to the Marshall Islands, Tonga and Samoa, south to Australia and New Caledonia.
Inhabits sheltered bays (sometimes in turbid areas) and reef lagoons. Forms dense schools (often with other cardinalfishes) above large mounds of branching Porites corals.


Dorsal fin VII, 9; Anal fin II, 9. 


Forms monogamous pairs.


The specific name leptacanthus is form the Greek leptos (small) and akantha (spine or thorn). 

Species Citation

Apogon leptacanthus Bleeker 1856, Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 12: 204. Type locality: East Indies.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Longspine Cardinalfish, Zoramia leptacantha (Bleeker 1856)


Allen, G.R. 1993. Cardinalfishes (Apogonidae) of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, with descriptions of three new species. Rev. Fr. Aquariol. 20(1): 9-20.

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. 

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21 

Bleeker, P. 1856. Achtste bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Ternate. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 12: 191-210 

Bleeker, P. 1874. Révision des espèces indo-archipélagiques du groupe des Apogonini. Natuurkundige Verhandelingen van de Bataafsche Hollandsche Maatschappye der Wetenschappen te Haarlem 3 2(1): 1-82 

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 

Günther, A. 1873. Andrew Garrett's Fische der Südsee, Heft I. Journal des Museum Godeffroy, Hamburg 2(3): 1-24 pls 1-20 (as Apogon graeffii)

Jordan, D.S. 1917. Notes on Glossamia and related genera of cardinal fishes. Copeia 1917(44): 46-47 

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. 

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

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.

Ogilby, J.D. 1913. On six new or rare Queensland fishes. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 2: 81-89 figs 21-23 (as Amia nematacantha)

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327065

Biology:Mouth brooders (males)

Depth:1-12 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:6 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map