Pearlyfin Cardinalfish, Jaydia poeciloptera (Cuvier 1828)

Other Names: Pearly-fin Cardinal-fish, Pearly-finned Cardinalfish, Pearly-finned Cardinal-fish

Pearlyfin Cardinalfish, Jaydia poeciloptera. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A greyish becoming silvery-grey below, with dark spots on scales forming indistinct lines along side, a dark blotch on first dorsal fin, several rows of small spots on second dorsal fin, and a broad dusky margin on the caudal fin.This Pearlyfin Cardinalfish inhabits soft bottom areas and is usually taken as bycatch in trawls.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Jaydia poeciloptera in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024,

Pearlyfin Cardinalfish, Jaydia poeciloptera (Cuvier 1828)

More Info


Exmouth Gulf, Western Australia, around the tropical north to about Moreton Bay, Queensland. Elsewhere, the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific.
Inhabits silty areas.


Dorsal fin VII + I, 9; Anal fin II, 8; Pectoral fin 14-17; Developed gill rakers, 1st gill arch 10–12 (1 on upper limb); Lateral-line scales 27-29. 
Body oblong, moderately deep, compressed; snout moderately pointed; rear margin of preopercle smooth; no enlarged canine teeth in jaws; lateral line well developed, extending to caudal-fin base; base of anal fin subequal in length to base of second dorsal fin caudal fin trunc;ate. 


Two separate dorsal fins, the 1st with 7 spines (4th spine the longest), the 2nd with 1 spine and 9 soft rays; anal fin with 2 spines and 8 soft rays; ; caudal fin truncate; intestine with dark spots.


Head and body greyish, darker above, becoming silvery-grey below; several faint horizontal wavy lines along side of body; gill chamber and first gill arch dusky; distal part of first dorsal fin dusky; second dorsal fin with several series of small dark grey spots; distal edge of caudal fin dusky.


Taken as bycatch in bottom trawls.


This species has previously been known Apogon poecilopterus, Ostorhinchus poecilopterus, and Jaydia poecilopterus.


The specific name poecilopterus is from Greek poecilo- (= spotted, varied) and ptera (= wing, fin) in reference to the small spots along the base of second dorsal fin.

Species Citation

Apogon poecilopterus Cuvier in Cuvier & Valenciennes 1828, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 2: 154. Type locality: Java, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Pearlyfin Cardinalfish, Jaydia poeciloptera (Cuvier 1828)


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

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. (as Apogon poecilopterus)

Blaber, S.J.M., Brewer, D.T. & Harris, A.N. 1994. Distribution, biomass and community structure of demersal fishes of the Gulf of Carpentaria, Australia. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 45(3): 375-396. (as Apogon poecilopterus)

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1828. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 2 xxi, 2 + 490 pp., pls 9-40.

Fraser, T.H. & Prokofiev, A.M. 2016. A new genus and species of cardinalfish (Percomorpha, Apogonidae, Sphaeramiini) from the coastal waters of Vietnam: luminescent or not? Zootaxa4144(2): 227-242. Abstract 

Fricke, R., Kulbicki, M. & Wantiez, L. 2011. Checklist of the fishes of New Caledonia, and their distribution in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (Pisces). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie) Neue Serie 4: 341-463.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. (as Apogon poecilopterus)

Haneda, Y., Tsuji, F.I. & Lynch, R.V. 1970. Newly observed luminescence in an apogonid fish, Apogon poecilopterus. Alpha Helix Research Program 70: 17–18. (as Apogon poecilopterus)

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) (as Apogon poecilopterus)

Kuiter, R.H. & Kozawa, T. 2019. Cardinalfishes of the world. New ed. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, and Okazaki, Aichi, Japan : Anthias, Nexus: 1-198.

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293.

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. pp. 339-380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds). The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia. Proceedings of the Sixth International Marine Biology Workshop. Darwin : Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory 466 pp. (as Apogon poecilopterus)

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.

Psomadakis, P., Thein, H., Russell, B.C. & Tun, M.T. 2020. Field identification guide to the living marine resources of Myanmar. FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. FAO, Rome,  and Department of Fisheries, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation, Republic of the Union of Myanmar, Rome: i-xvii + 1-694, pls. 1-58.

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84 (as Apogon poecilopterus)

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. (as Apogon poecilopterus)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327026


Biology:Mouth brooder (males)

Depth:7-146 m

Habitat:Reef associated, silty areas

Max Size:14 cm SL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map