Plain Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus apogonoides (Bleeker 1856)

Other Names: Goldbelly Cardinalfish, Plain Cardinal, Shorttooth Cardinal, Short-tooth Cardinal

A Plain Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus apogonoides, at North West Solitary Island, New South Wales, April 2020. Source: Ian Shaw / Atlas of Living Australia. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A reddish-grey cardinalfish becoming a deep golden-yellow below with two stripes from the upper jaw through the eye and across the gill cover, three rows of bluish spots along the midsides, and a dusky tip on the first dorsal fin. Juveniles are pale yellowish with short blue lines on the snout.

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

Plain Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus apogonoides (Bleeker 1856)

More Info


Northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, to Nelson Bay, New South Wales, and possibly further south to Sydney; also Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific.
Inhabits sheltered coastal to outer reefs, on shallow flats to deeper areas.


Dorsal fin VII + I, 9; Anal fin II, 8.

Species Citation

Cheilodipterus apogonoides Bleeker  1856, Acta Societatis Scientiarum Indo-Neerlandicae 1: 3, 11, 37. Type locality: Manado, Sulawesi (as Celebes), Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Plain Cardinalfish, Ostorhinchus apogonoides (Bleeker 1856)


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

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. (as Apogon apogonoides)

Bleeker, P. 1856. Beschrijvengen van nieuwe of weinig bekende vischsoorten van Menado en Makassar grootendeels verzameld op eene reis naar den Molukschen Archipel in het gevolg van den Gouverneur-Generaal Duymaer van Twist. Acta Societatis Scientiarum Indo-Neerlandicae 1: 1-80 

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 apogonoides)

Kuiter, R.H. 1993. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 437 pp. (as Apogon apogonoides)

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 apogonoides)

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 

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 apogonoides)

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 apogonoides)

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 apogonoides)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327043

Behaviour:Mouth brooder (males)

Depth:3-60 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:10 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map