Mouth Almighty, Glossamia aprion (Richardson 1842)

Other Names: Blanchard's Perchelet [<I>sic</I>], Blanchard's Perchlet, Flabby, Gill's Cardinalfish, Gill's Cardinal-fish, Glossamia, Gobbleguts, Northern Mouthbreeder, Queensland Mouthbreeder, Queensland Mouthbrooder, Soldier Fish, Stinker

Mouth Almighty, Glossamia aprion. Source: Michael Hammer. License: all rights reserved

A creamy-brown cardinalfish with 6-8 irregular broken darker olive-brown bar-like areas extending onto belly, or numerous small and large irregular darker brown spots and blotches, and a dark bar from eye to shoulder. The first dorsal fin is dusky, with the outer half blackish, pelvic fins and basal parts of second dorsal and anal fins with dark spots and marblings.

A Mouth Almighty hunting amongst Pandanus roots in a small rainforest billabong on a freshwater spring in the upper reaches of the Finniss River, Northern Territory.

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon, Glossamia aprion in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jul 2019,

Mouth Almighty, Glossamia aprion (Richardson 1842)

More Info


Widespread throughout rivers, creeks and lagoons from the Fitzroy River, WA (17º43´S) to Burnett River, QLD (25º06´S) and New Guinea; a tropical species inhabiting still or gently flowing fresh waters of coastal streams, pools, swamps and reservoirs; usually amongst aquatic vegetation at shallow margins.


Dorsal fin VI-I, 9–11; Anal fin II, 8–10; Pectoral fin 12-13; LL 25–43, continued to tail base. Transverse scales 3.5–4.5 + 11–14; Lower Gill rakers 6.
Body oblong and compressed, rather elevated with a marked concavity before nape; body depth 2.4–2.8. Head 2.4-2.6 in length without tail. Eye large, 3.1-4.1 in head, 1.5-1.9 times interorbital and slightly greater than snout. Snout 3.2-4.2 in head; interorbital 4.2-4.6 in head. Lower jaw protruding slightly; maxilla reaching to below hind border of eye; broad bands of depressible villiform teeth in jaws; symphysial ones slightly larger; narrower bands of similar teeth on vomer and palatines and a small patch at back of tongue. Lower margin of preoperculum with a few coarse serrations. Preopercular ridge, orbital rim and preorbital entire. Gill rakers very short.
Large, mostly ctenoid scales.
Two separate dorsal fins, both tall; origin of first dorsal about opposite ventral fin; origin of 2nd dorsal about opposite anal fin; caudal fin rounded to slightly emarginate.


To at least 10 cm SL.


Creamy-brown with 6-8 irregular broken darker olivebrown bar-like areas extending onto belly or numerous small and large irregular darker brown spots and blotches. A dark bar from eye to shoulder. 1st dorsal fin dusky, outer half blackish; pelvics and basal parts of 2nd dorsal and anal fins with dark spots and marblings.


Nocturnal ambush carnivore feeding on aquatic and terrestrial insects, small fishes and crustaceans.


Males incubate eggs in mouth cavity. Spawning occurs in the late dry and early wet season, possibly at night. Eggs are relatively large but not numerous. Larvae hatch at an advanced stage.

Species Citation

Apogon aprion Richardson, J. (1842). Contributions to the ichthyology of Australia. Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. (ns)9(55): 16. Type locality: King's River, Port Essington.


Martin F. Gomon

Mouth Almighty, Glossamia aprion (Richardson 1842)


Allen, G.R. 1982. Inland Fishes of Western Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 86 pp. 6 figs 20 pls.

Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia.  Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications pp. 1–240 figs.

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Cook, B.D., Adams, M., Mather, P.B. & Hughes, J.M. 2012. Statistical phylogeographic tests of competing ‘Lake Carpentaria hypotheses’ in the mouth-brooding freshwater fish, Glossamia aprion (Apogonidae). Marine and Freshwater Research 63: 450-456.

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes.  Redcliffe : E.M. Grant Pty. Limited 9th Edn  880 pp. (as G. aprion gilli).

Larson, H.K. & Martin, K.C. 1990. Freshwater Fishes of the Northern Territory. Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences Handbook Series Number 1.  Darwin : Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences 102 pp. 73 figs.

McDowall, R.M. 1996. Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia.  Sydney : Reed Books 2nd Edn  247 pp.

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. (1984). Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management.  Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp. figs

Morgan, D.L., M.G. Allen, P. Bedford & M. Horstman. 2004. Fish fauna of the Fitzroy River in the Kimberley region of Western Australia - including the Bunuba, Gooniyandi, Ngarinyin, Nyikina and Walmajarri Aboriginal names. Rec. West. Aust. Mus. 22: 147-161.

Pusey, B.J., A.H. Arthington & M.G. Read. 1995. Species richness and spatial variation in fish assemblage structure in two rivers of the wet tropics of northern Queensland, Australia. Environ. Biol. Fish. 42(2): 181-199.

Pusey, B.J., M.G. Read & A.H. Arthington. 1995. The feeding ecology of freshwater fishes in two rivers of the Australian wet tropics. Environ. Biol. Fish. 43(1): 85-103.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327102

Biology:Mouth brooder (males)

Habitat:Freshwater rivers, streams, lagoons

Max Size:10 cm SL

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CAAB distribution map