Black Cardinalfish, Apogonichthyoides melas (Bleeker 1848)

A Black Cardinalfish, Apogonichthyoides melas, at South Komodo Island, Indonesia. Source: zsispeo / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A brown cardinalfish with tall rounded second dorsal and anal fins, broad rounded caudal-fin lobes, a black ocellus on the second dorsal-fin base, a narrow diagonal bar across the cheek, and often three or four indistinct broad dark bars on the body and caudal peduncle (noticeable at night).

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Apogonichthyoides melas in Fishes of Australia, accessed 03 Jun 2020,

Black Cardinalfish, Apogonichthyoides melas (Bleeker 1848)

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Offshore reefs of north Western Australia, Ashmore & Cartier Islands, Timor Sea, and the Northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland; also Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Elsewhere the species occurs throughout the East Indian region to New Caledonia, and north to the Ryukyu Islands, Japan.
Inhabits protected coastal bays and reefs, often sheltering beneath jetties or amongst branching corals.


Dorsal fin VII + I, 9; Anal fin II, 8; Pectoral fin 14-15; Lateral-line scales 24; Gill rakers (first arch) 5+15.


The Black Cardinalfish is provisionally placed in the genus Apogonichthyoides (Mabuchi et al. 2014).

Species Citation

Apogon melas Bleeker 1848, J. Indian Archipelago & Eastern Asia 2(9): 635. Type locality: Bima, Sumbawa, Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Black Cardinalfish, Apogonichthyoides melas (Bleeker 1848)


Allen, G.R., 1993. Cardinalfishes (Apogonidae) of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, with descriptions of three new species. Rev. Fr. Aquariol. 20(1): 9-20. (as Apogon melas)

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

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. (as Apogon melas)

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. 

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 21 pp.

Bleeker, P. 1848. A contribution to the knowledge of the ichthyological fauna of Sumbawa. Journal of the Indian Archipelago & Eastern Asia 2(9): 632-639. 

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. (as Apogon melas)

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327133

Biology:Mouth brooders (males)

Depth:1-15 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:12.5 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map