Threespine Cardinalfish, Verilus anomalus (Ogilby 1896)

Other Names: Flathead Feed, Three-spined Cardinalfish, Three-spined Cardinal-fish

Threespine Cardinalfish, Apogonops anomalus. Source: Ken Graham / NSW Fisheries. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A slender olive-brown 'perch-like' fish becoming silvery-white below, with black tips on the first dorsal and caudal fins, and a pair of large canine teeth at the front of the upper jaw. 

The Threespine Cardinalfish was previously known as Apogonops anomalus.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2023, Verilus anomalus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Apr 2024,

Threespine Cardinalfish, Verilus anomalus (Ogilby 1896)

More Info


Widespread in continental shelf and slope waters of southern Australia, from southern Queensland to northwest of Shark Bay, Western Australia, including around Tasmania. Threespine Cardinalfish form large pelagic schools, in deep estuaries to a depth of 600 m on the continental slope. 


Dorsal fin X + 10; Anal fin III, 6-7; Pectoral fin 14; Gill rakers, lower arm 20-23; Lateral-line scales 44-51; Vertebrae 25.
Body depth 22.2-28.1% SL; pair of spines on upper part of operculum in adults; lower jaw with a row of conical teeth posterior to a canine tooth near symphysis; scales cycloid and very weakly ctenoid.


Threespine Cardinalfish are an important food source for large predatory fishes.


Yamanoue (2016) determined that the genera Apogonops and Neoscombrops are synonyms of the genus Verilus.


The specific name is from the Latin anomalus (= irregular, odd, uneven), presumably in reference to the fact the Ogilby was "puzzled to know in what family this genus should be placed; a casual glance would indicate aflinity to the Apogonidae,  but the absence of vomerine teeth and the number of the dorsal spines apparently deny it a resting-place among these little fishes,  unless indeed it should be considered to be an aberrant Apogonid with sciaenoid affinities."

Species Citation

Apogonops anomalus Ogilby 1896, Proc. Linn. Soc. N. S. W. 21(1): 24. Type locality: Maroubra Bay, New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2023


Atlas of Living Australia

Threespine Cardinalfish, Verilus anomalus (Ogilby 1896)


Blaber, S.J.M. & Bulman, C.M. 1987. Diets of fishes of the upper continental slope of eastern Tasmania: content, calorific values, dietary overlap and trophic relationships. Marine Biology 95: 345-356.

Bulman, C.M. & Blaber, S.J.M. 1986. Feeding ecology of Macruronus novaezelandiae (Hector) (Teleostei: Merlucciidae) in south-eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 37: 621-639.

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Acropomatidae, p. 533 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. (as Apogonops anomalus)

Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. (as Apogonops anomalus)

Last, P.R., Scott, E.O.G. & Talbot, F.H. 1983. Fishes of Tasmania. Hobart : Tasmanian Fisheries Development Authority 563 pp. figs. (as Apogonops anomalus)

May, J.L. & Maxwell, J.G.H. 1986. Field Guide to Trawl Fish from Temperate Waters of Australia. Hobart : CSIRO Division of Marine Research 492 pp. (as Apogonops anomalus)

Neira, F.J., Miskiewicz, A.G. & Trnski, T. 1998. Larvae of temperate Australian fishes: laboratory guide for larval fish identification. Nedlands, Western Australia : University of Western Australia press 474 pp. (as Apogonops anomalus)

Ogilby, J.D. 1896. On a new genus and species of fishes from Maroubra Bay. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 21(1): 23-25 See ref at BHL

Pollard, J. (ed.) 1980. G.P. Whitley's Handbook of Australian Fishes. North Sydney : Jack Pollard Publishing Pty Ltd 629 pp. (as Apogonops anomalus)

Yamanoue, Y. 2016. Revision of the genus Verilus (Perciformes: Acropomatidae) with a description of a new species. Journal of Fish Biology 89(5): 2375-2398

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37311053

Depth:40-600 m


Max Size:15 cm SL


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