Blacktip Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus semilineatus (Temminck & Schlegel 1843)

Other Names: Black-tipped Cardinalfish, Black-tipped Cardinal-fish, Half-lined Cardinal

Blacktip Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus semilineatus, at Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan, July 2015. Source: Zack / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale reddish cardinalfish becoming silvery-white below, with a round pupil-sized (or slightly smaller) black spot on the caudal peduncle, a narrow black stripe from the upper rear of the eye to the rear of the second dorsal fin, a broader stripe from the snout through the eye and across the gill cover, and a black tip on the first dorsal fin. The broad stripe in Australian specimens may extend to below the middle of the second dorsal fin or further.
Video of Blacktip Cardinalfish in Japan

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Ostorhinchus semilineatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Sep 2023,

Blacktip Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus semilineatus (Temminck & Schlegel 1843)

More Info


Dampier Archipelago to the Joseph Bonaparte Gulf , Western Australia, Arafura Sea, Northern Territory, and Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island in the Timor Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, east-Indo-west Pacific.
Forms large schools over rocky substrates, and feeds over sandy areas at night.


Dorsal fin VII + I,9; Anal fin II,8; Pectoral fin 12-13; Caudal fin 3-4 + 9+8 + 3-4; Gill rakers 16+1+4.


This species is considered to be a Japanese endemic by Kuiter & Kozawa (2019). 


The specific name semilineatus is from the Latin semi (= half) and lineatus (= lined) presumably in reference to the upper black stripe extending halfway along the body.

Species Citation

Apogon semilineatus Temminck & Schlegel 1843, Fauna Japonica Vol. 4: 4, pl. 2(3). Type locality: Japan.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Blacktip Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus semilineatus (Temminck & Schlegel 1843)


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

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 semilineatus)

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 semilineatus)

Gon, O. 2010. Apogon semilineatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154688A4607181. Accessed on 13 January 2022.

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 semilineatus)

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

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

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

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 

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 semilineatus)

Sudo, H. & Azeta, M. 1992. Selective predation on mature male Byblis japonicus (Amphipoda: Gammaridea) by the barface cardinalfish, Apogon semilineatus. Marine Biology 114: 211-217.

Temminck, C.J. & Schlegel, H. 1843. Pisces. 1-20 pls 1-7 in Siebold, P. Fr de (ed.) Fauna Japonica. Leyden : Apud Arnz & Socios Vol. 4.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327004

Biology:Mouth brooder (males)

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Depth:3-100 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:12 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map