Blue-eye Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus compressus (Smith & Radcliffe 1911)

Other Names: Blue-eyed Cardinalfish, Ochre-striped Cardinalfish, Split-banded Cardinalfish

A Blue-eye Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus compressus, at night, Panglao, Philippines, May 2017. Source: Francois Libert / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A brown-striped cardinalfish with electric blue eyes, six reddish-brown stripes along the sides, and 3-4 'spots' on the tail base. The broad stripe on the upper side is divided behind the eye. Small juveniles have a black spot in the middle of a yellow caudal peduncle.

Video of a Blue-eye Cardinalfish

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Ostorhinchus compressus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 29 May 2024,

Blue-eye Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus compressus (Smith & Radcliffe 1911)

More Info


Offshore reefs of north Western Australia, Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island in the Timor Sea, and the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland; also the Lord Howe Province in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the east-Indo-west Pacific: Andaman Sea to the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Soloon Islands and Vanuatu, north to southern Japan, and south to New Caledonia. 
Inhabits coral-rich areas - small groups remain close to the shelter of branching corals (Acropora and Porites)during the day, usually at depths to 10 m.


Dorsal fin VI + I, 9; Anal fin II, 9; Pectoral fin 13-14; Gill rakers 7-8 + 20–22.
Body strongly compressed


Blue-eye Cardinalfish are thought to mimic large-toothed species of the apogonid genus Cheilodipterus, allowing them to venture out in the open more freely.


The soecufic name is from the Latin compressus (= to press together), in reference to the "strongly compressed" body of this species.

Species Citation

Amia compressa Smith & Radcliffe, 1911. Proc. U. S. Natl Mus. 41(1853): 246, pls 20, 21. Type locality: Philippine Islands. 


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas pf Living Australia

Blue-eye Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus compressus (Smith & Radcliffe 1911)


Allen, G.R. 1993. Cardinalfishes (Apogonidae) of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, with descriptions of three new species. Revue française d'aquariologie 20(1): 9-20.

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. & Fricke, R. 2010. Apogon compressus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T154872A4656289. Downloaded on 18 November 2019.

Caley, M.J. & St John, J. 1996. Refuge availability structures assemblages of tropical reef fishes. Journal of Animal Ecology 65: 414-428

Choat, J.H., van Herwerden, L., Robbins, W.D., Hobbs, J.P. & Ayling, A.M. 2006. A report on the ecological surveys undertaken at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, February 2006. Report by James Cook University to the Department of the Environment and Heritage. 65 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical reef-fishes of the western Pacific Indonesia and adjacent waters. Gramedia Pustaka Utama, Jakarta, Indonesia.

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.

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

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 1. Eels - Snappers, Muraenidae - Lutjanidae. Australia : Zoonetics pp. 1-302.

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. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

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.

Russell, B.C., T.H. Fraser & H.K. Larson, 2010. Castelnau’s collection of Singapore fishes described by Pieter Bleeker. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 58(1): 93-102.

Smith, H.M. & Radcliffe, L. in Radcliffe, L. 1911. Notes on some fishes of the genus Amia, family of Cheilodipteridae, with descriptions of four new species from the Philippine Islands. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 41(1853): 245-261 figs 1-3 pls 20-25 See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327049

Biology:Mouth brooder (males)

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-20 m

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:12 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map