Nectamia savayensis (Günther 1872)

Other Names: Ghost Cardinal, Samoan Cardinalfish, Samoan Cardinal-fish

A Samoan cardinalfish, Nectamia savayensis, at Lomaiviti, Fiji, November 2016. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A coppery to silvery cardinalfish with a dark wide bar on the caudal peduncle, mostly above the lateral line, a wide wedge-shaped bar across the cheek, dark margins along the outer caudal-fin lobes, and no stripes or dark saddles on the body (occasionally a few faint bars).

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Nectamia savayensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 01 Mar 2024,

Nectamia savayensis (Günther 1872)

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Great Barrier Reef, Queensland; also Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Timor Sea, and Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Island; tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.


Head, body and fins without stripes; head with broad dark oblique cheek mark from eye to angle of preopercle, lachrymal and anterior infraorbital with yellowish mark, iris brownish with white inner ring; head and body a uniform bronze to brownish background becoming silvery below eye and on abdomen, sometimes with faint pale bars on side or a saddle under the second dorsal fin; caudal peduncle with a dark basicaudal mark mostly above pored lateral-line scales, absent below pored lateral-line scales, partial pale region just anterior to peduncle mark; first dorsal fin with dusky distal membranes between spines II–IV, second dorsal with dusky membranes between the spine and second ray, anal fin with whitish second spine and first anal ray, pectoral and pelvic rays pale, edge of caudal fin whitish with blackish interior line, rest of fin pale (Fraser 2008).

Species Citation

Apogon savayensis Günther 1872, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1871(3): 656. Type locality: Samoa.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Nectamia savayensis (Günther 1872)


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

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

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island.Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.  

Fraser, T.H. 2008. Cardinalfishes of the genus Nectamia (Apogonidae, Perciformes) from the Indo-Pacific region with descriptions of four new species. Zootaxa 1691: 1-52 

Günther, A. 1872. Report on several collections of fishes recently obtained for the British Museum. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1871(3): 652-675 pls 53-70 

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

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

Marnane, M.J. & Bellwood, D.R. 2002. Diet and norturnal foraging in cardinalfishes (Apogonidae) at One Tree Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Marine Ecology Progress Series 231: 261-268. doi:10.3354/meps231261 (as Apogon guamensis)

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. (as Ostorhinchus savayensis)

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2 (as Apogon savayensis)

Whitley, G.P. 1930. Five new generic names for Australian fishes. The Australian Zoologist 6(3): 250-251 (p. 43 as Aspiscis savayensis)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327059

Biology:Mouth brooders (males)

Depth:3-25 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:10 cm SL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map