Mini Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus neotes (Allen, Kuiter & Randall 1994)

Other Names: Larval Cardinalfish

A Mini Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus neotes, at Osprey Islet, Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Source: Lyle Vail / Lizard Island Field Guide License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A small semi-transparent cardinalfish with a black internal stripe from behind the eye to the caudal peduncle followed by a large black spot at the base of tail, black internal pigment on the abdomen, a white stripe from below the eye across the abdomen, and black pigment along the bases of the dorsal and anal fins.

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

Mini Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus neotes (Allen, Kuiter & Randall 1994)

More Info


Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical west Pacific.  Inhabits clear lagoons and outer reefs, forming small schools along reef walls and slopes in coral-rich areas; shelters in caves and crevices during the day.


Dorsal fin VI + I, 9; Anal fin II, 8; Pectoral fin 13; Mid-lateral line scales 24; tubed lateral line scales absent; Predorsal scales 4; Gill rakers 5+16-18, excluding an indistinct rudiment on upper limb; Vertebrae 24. 
Body depth 4.2-4.7 in SL; preopercular margin serrate; preopercular ridge smooth; vomer and palatine toothless. 


The specific name neotes is from the Greek (= youth) in reference to the juvenile appearance of this neotenic species.

Species Citation

Apogon neotes Allen, Kuiter & Randall 1994, Revue Française d'Aquariologie et Herpétologie 21(1–2): 31, fig. 4. Type locality: Pasar Sari Reef, outer Maumere Bay, Flores, Indonesia, about 8°23'S, 122°13'E, depth 20 m. 


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Mini Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus neotes (Allen, Kuiter & Randall 1994)


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

Allen, G.R., Kuiter, R.H. & Randall, J.E. 1994. Descriptions of five new species of cardinalfishes (Apogonidae: Apogon) from Maumere Bay, Flores, Indonesia and surrounding regions. Revue Française d'Aquariologie et Herpétologie 21(1–2): 27-38 

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

Gon, O. 2010. Apogon neotes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154910A4665240. Downloaded on 28 May 2020.

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

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:37327150

Biology:Mouth brooder (males)

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:3-25 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:3 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map