Orangelined Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus cyanosoma (Bleeker 1853)

Other Names: Blue-lined Cardinalfish, Blue-striped Cardinalfish, Orange-lined Cardinal, Orange-lined Cardinalfish, Yellowstriped Cardinalfish, Yellow-striped Cardinalfish

An Orangelined Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus cyanosoma, at Tulamben, Bali, Indonesia. Source: Ian V. Shaw / Reef Life Survey. License: CC by Attribution

A silvery bluish to pale pinkish cardinalfish with 6 orange-yellow stripes along the body, including a short stripe running behind the eye. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Ostorhinchus cyanosoma in Fishes of Australia, accessed 19 Apr 2024,

Orangelined Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus cyanosoma (Bleeker 1853)

More Info


Shark Bay, Western Australia, Ashmore and Cartier Islands, Timor Sea, and around the tropical north to Merimbula, New South Wales; also at Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the eastern Indian Ocean. The species may also occur in the Lord Howe Island region in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical Indo-West Pacific. 

Inhabits sheltered lagoons and coastal reefs. During the day, individuals or small groups shelter around corals heads and under ledges.


Dorsal fin VIII, 9; Anal fin II, 8; Pectoral fin 14; Lateral-line scales 24; Gill rakers 4-5 + 16-19.

Body depth 2.7-3.0 in SL.


To a maximum total length (TL) of 8 cm.


Pale bluish-silver, with 6 yellowish-orange stripes, including a short stripe from the top rear of the eye to the midbody. Pale body background stripes become silvery-white on head. Midlateral stripe with a pinkish to orange spot on the caudal-fin base.


Nocturnal planktivore - feeds on planktonic invertebrates and other small invertebrates.


The sexes are separate, and the species is oviparous (lays eggs). Females produce an egg mass that is fertilised by the male then taken up into his mouth. He brood the developing embryos until the hatch, and  does not feed during the incubation period.


Of no interest to fisheries, although the species is collected for the aquarium industry.

Similar Species

In New South Wales, the similar Orangelined Cardinalfish may be confused with the Coral Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus propteruptus. O. propteruptus differs in having a yellow-orange body with 5 narrow silvery to pale grey stripes, with the lowermost stripe on the head not extending onto the body.


The specific name cyanosoma is from the Greek cyanos (= blue) and soma (= body), in reference to the pale bluish-silver body.

Species Citation

Amia cyanosoma Bleeker, 1853, Natuur. Tijdschr. Nederl. Indië 5: 71 Type locality: Lawajong, Solor Island, Lesser Sunda Islands, Indonesia [Nusa Tenggara Timur Province, Indonesia].


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Orangelined Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus cyanosoma (Bleeker 1853)


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

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 cyanosoma)

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 Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21. (as Apogon cyanosoma)

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls. (as Apogon cyanosoma)

Bleeker, P. 1853. Bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Solor. Natuurwetenschappelijk Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 5: 67-96. See ref at BHL

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp. (as Apogon cyanosoma)

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S.J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Checklist and new records of Christmas Island fishes: the influence of isolation, biogeography and habitat availability on species abundance and community composition. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 184–202

Hutchins, B. 2004. Fishes of the Dampier Archipelago, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 66: 343–398. (as Apogon properupta)

Hutchins, J.B. 1994. A survey of the nearshore reef fish fauna of Western Australia's west and south coasts — The Leeuwin Province. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 46: 1-66. (as Apogon properupta)

Hutchins, J.B. & Swainston, R. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete field guide for anglers and divers. Perth : Swainston Publishing 180 pp. (as Apogon cyanosoma)

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3) (as Apogon cyanosoma)

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

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 cyanosoma)

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

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293.

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 cyanosoma)

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 Apogon cyanosoma)

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. (as Apogon cyanosoma)

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. (as Apogon cyanosoma)

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 cyanosoma)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327052

Biology:Mouth brooder (males)

Depth:1-40 m (usually to 15 m)

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:8 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map