Black Deepsea Cardinalfish, Epigonus telescopus (Risso 1810)

Other Names: Bigeye, Black Cardinal Fish, Black Cardinalfish, Bulls-eye, Deepsea Cardinalfish, Telescope Cardinal, Telescope Cardinalfish

Black Deepsea Cardinalfish, Epigonus telescopus. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A black to brownish-violet deepwater fish that resembles shallow-dwelling cardinalfishes of the family Apogonidae. The species has blunt snout, a large mouth, a very large eye, two short-based dorsal fins, and the lateral-line high on the body continuing onto the forked tail.
May be taken on deep longlines.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2017, Epigonus telescopus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 Sep 2023,

Black Deepsea Cardinalfish, Epigonus telescopus (Risso 1810)

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Off central New South Wales, to the Great Australian Bight, South Australia, and off eastern and western Tasmania; also on the Lord Howe Plateau and Norfolk Ridge in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread from the Mediterranean, Eastern Atlantic, and Indo-west Pacific in depths to 1200 m.


Epigonus telescopus is a long-lived and slow growing species, with maximum reported ages of 90–100+ years. Individuals attain sexual maturity at around 50 cm in length and at an age of about 36.4 for females and 34.5 for males (Tracey et al. 2000). This species feeds on mesopelagic fishes, decapod crustaceans and octopus.


A commercially important species in parts of its range, including in New Zealand waters.

Species Citation

Pomatomus telescopus Risso 1810, Ichthyologie de Nice: 301, pl. 9(fig. 31). Type locality: Nice, France. 


Bray, D.J. 2017


Australian Faunal Directory

Black Deepsea Cardinalfish, Epigonus telescopus (Risso 1810)


de Morais, L., Smith-Vaniz, W.F., Carpenter, K.E. & de Bruyne, G. 2015. Epigonus telescopus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T198653A15547631. Downloaded on 12 April 2017.

Dunn, M.R. 2009. Review and stock assessment of black cardinalfish (Epigonus telescopus) on the east coast North Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2009/39.

Field, K.D., Tracey, D.M. & Clark, M.R. 1997. A summary of information on, and an assessment of the fishery for, black cardinalfish, Epigonus telescopus (Risso, 1810). New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Research Document 97(22): 5.

Gomon, M.F. 1994. Family Apogonidae. pp. 562-571 figs 499-506 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. 

Gomon, M.F. 2008. Families Epigonidae, Howellidae and Sillaginidae. pp. 561-569 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Mayer, G.F. 1974. A revision of the cardinalfish genus Epigonus (Perciformes, Apogonidae), with descriptions of two new species. Bulletin of the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard 146(3): 147-203 figs 1-22 

Paulin, C., Stewart, A., Roberts, C. & McMillan, P. 1989. New Zealand fish: a complete guide. National Museum of New Zealand Miscellaneous Series 19: 1-279. 

Risso, A. 1810. Ichthyologie de Nice, ou histoire naturelle des poissons du département des Alpes Maritimes. Paris : F. Schaell 388 pp. 11 pls.

Tracey, D.M., George, K. & Gilbert, D.J. 2000. Estimation of age, growth, and mortality parameters of black cardinalfish (Epigonus telescopus) in QMA 2 (east coast North Island).  New Zealand Fisheries Assessment Report 2000/27, 21 pp

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327035

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:75-1200m (mostly 300-800m)


Max Size:75 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map