Yellow Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus flavus (Allen & Randall 1993)

Other Names: Brassy Cardinalfish

A Yellow Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus flavus, at Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea, November 2016. Source: David R / via the Atals of Living Australia. License: CC BY Attribution-NonCommercial

A bright yellowish-orange cardinalfish with a black spot centred on the tail base, a pair of white stripes through eye, and a brown stripe in front of the eye. Although juveniles also have the black spot, they are pale with a broad brownish stripe.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Ostorhinchus flavus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Sep 2023,

Yellow Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus flavus (Allen & Randall 1993)

More Info


The Great Barrier Reef and reefs in the Coral Sea; also the Lord Howe Province and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Caledonia.


Dorsal fin VII + I,8; Anal fin II, 8-9; Pectoral fin 14-15; Lateral line scales 24; Predorsal scales 4; Gill rakers 25-27. 
Body depth: 2.6-2.8 in SL. Preopercular margin fully serrate; preopercular ridge serrate, mainly on lower portion.

Similar Species

The similar Capricorn Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus capricornis, has a pair of blue stripes through the eye vs white stripes in O. flavus.


The specific name is from the Latin flavus (= yellow, flaxen, blond) in reference to the body colour of this species.

Species Citation

Apogon flavus Allen & Randall 1993, Rev. Française d'Aquariol. Herpétol. 19(4): 109, figs 2-4. Type locality: west side of Nepean Island, Norfolk Island, about 29°05'S, 167°59'E, depth 15-20 m.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Yellow Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus flavus (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. 1999. Apogonidae. pp. 2602-2610 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, T.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 4 pp. 2069-2790.

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 

Francis, M.P. 2019. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. figshare. Collection.

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:37327126

Biology:Mouth brooder (males)

Depth:2-25 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:10 cm SL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map