Capricorn Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus capricornis (Allen & Randall 1993)

A Capricorn Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus capricornis, at North Solitary Island, New South Wales - depth 23 m. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A dusky yellow cardinalfish becoming brassy or golden yellow below, with a black spot centred on the caudal peduncle, and pair of neon blue stripes through the eye.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Ostorhinchus capricornis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Jul 2024,

Capricorn Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus capricornis (Allen & Randall 1993)

More Info


Capricorn Group, southern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, and reefs in the southern part of the Coral Sea, to at least Sydney, New South Wales, with juveniles as far south as Montague Island; also Lord Howe Island and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. The species occurs elsewhere in the tropical, south-west Pacific (Chesterfield Islands, Coral Sea, and New Caledonia).
Usually shelters in caves and crevices during the day. 


Dusky yellow grading to brassy or golden yellow below, with a black spot (slightly smaller in size than pupil) centred on the caudal peduncle, and pair of bright blue stripes running through the eye (lower stripe extending to the rear of the gill cover).


Usually active at night, and individuals or small groups emerge at dusk to feed on benthic invertebrates and zooplankton.

Similar Species

The similar Yellow Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus flavus, differs in having a pair of white stripes running through the eye, vs neon blue stripes in O. capricornis. 

Species Citation

Apogon capricornis Allen & Randall, 1993, Rev. Fr. d'Aquariol. Herpétol. 19(4): 112, fig. 5. Type locality: outer reef on north side of One Tree Island, Capricorn Group, Great Barrier Reef, QLD. 


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Capricorn Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus capricornis (Allen & Randall 1993)


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

Allen, G.R. & Randall, J.E. 1993. Three new species of cardinalfishes (Apogonidae) from Australia and adjacent seas. Revue Française d'Aquariologie et Herpétologie 19(4): 107-114.

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)

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. (as Apogon cf aureus)

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.

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. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327125

Biology:Mouth brooder (males)

Depth:2-83 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:10 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map