Speckled Siphonfish, Siphamia guttulata (Alleyne & Macleay 1877)

Other Names: Speckled Siphon-fish

A Speckled Siphonfish, Siphamia guttulata, CSIRO H 6930-02, from SE of Cairns, 17°06.36’S, 146°00.30’E, depth 20 m, October 2004 (scale bar = 5mm). Source: Fig. 1, in Pogonoski et al (2020) Zootaxa 4766(2): 377–388 / Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A silvery siphonfish peppered with tiny black dots, three narrow stripes along the side - one from the top of the head to the rear of the soft dorsal fin, a more distinct midlateral stripe from the snout through the eye to the tail base, and the third from the lower part of the gill cover running along the top of the light organ, a dark brown iris, whitish fins with small black speckles on the pelvic-fin spine, the first dorsal-fin spines and the posterior soft dorsal-fin rays. The silvery light organ has dark vertical striations.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Siphamia guttulata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 18 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4233

Speckled Siphonfish, Siphamia guttulata (Alleyne & Macleay 1877)

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Endemic to the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, from the Torres Strait in the north, to the Northumberland Islands Group, north of Shoalwater Bay.
Inhabits inshore reefs, sheltering in holes and crevices during the day, at depths to 46 m.


Dorsal fin VII+I,9; Anal fin II,8; Pectoral fin 14–16; Median predorsal scales 0–1; Gill rakers (developed) 1 + 7–8; Supraneurals 2; Preopercular serrations 13-25. 
Body depth 2.2–2.8 in SL, body width 1.9–2.25 in the depth; eye diameter 2.7–3.2 in HL; caudal-peduncle length 1.4–2.1 in distance between pelvic spine insertion and anal-fin origin; predorsal distance 2.0–2.2, preanal distance 1.3–1.4, prepelvic distance 8.8–11.35, all in SL. Preopercular edge with 13–25 serrations around angle and ventral edge; scales spinoid. 
Light organ above to 1st to 6th procurrent caudal rays in specimens 20–26 mm SL.
First dorsal spine 2.1–2.9 in second spine; second dorsal spine 3.7–4.9, spine of second dorsal fin 4.0–5.0, and second anal spine 4.0–5.1, all in head length; pectoral-fin length 4.1–5.5 and pelvic-fin length 3.7–4.6 in SL.


To 28 mm SL.

Similar Species

Siphamia guttulata differs from all other members of the S. tubifer group in having the predorsal scales arranged irregularly resulting in none or one proper predorsal scale.


The specific name guttulata is from the Latin guttula (= small spot), in reference to the body 'speckled all over with minute black dots'.

Species Citation

Apogon guttulatus Alleyne & Macleay 1877, Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1(3–4): 267, pl. 5, fig. 1. Type locality: Darnley Island, Torres Strait, Queensland.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Speckled Siphonfish, Siphamia guttulata (Alleyne & Macleay 1877)


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.

Alleyne, H.G. & Macleay, W.J. 1877. The ichthyology of the Chevert Expedition. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1(3-4): 261-281, 321-359, pls 3-9, 10-17 See ref at BHL

Fraser, T.H. & Prokofiev, A.M. 2016. A new genus and species of cardinalfish (Percomorpha, Apogonidae, Sphaeramiini) from the coastal waters of Vietnam: luminescent or not? Zootaxa 4144(2): 227–242. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4144.2.5

Gon, O. & Allen, G.R. 2012. Revision of the Indo-Pacific cardinalfish genus Siphamia (Perciformes: Apogonidae). Zootaxa 3294: 1-84. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3294.1.1

Kuiter, R.H. & Kozawa, T. 2019. Cardinalfishes of the world. New Edition. Seaford, Victoria: Aquatic Photographics, and Okazaki, Aichi: Anthias (Nexus), 198 pp.

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 https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.3846.2.1

McCulloch, A.R. 1929. A check-list of the fishes recorded from Australia. Part II. Memoirs of the Australian Museum 5: 145–329 DOI: 10.3853/j.0067-1967.5.1929.474 (as Apogonichthys guttulatus)

Munro, I.S.R. 1960. Handbook of Australian Fishes. Fisheries Newsletter 34: 137-140 (as Siphamia guttulatus)

Pogonoski, J.J., Gon, O. & Appleyard, S.A. 2020. Redescription and distributional range extension of the Speckled Siphonfish, Siphamia guttulata (Pisces: Apogonidae). Zootaxa 4766(2): 377-388 http://dx.doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4766.2.6

Whitley, G.P. 1964. A survey of Australian Ichthyology. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 89(1): 11-127 (as Fodifoa guttulata) See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327116

Biology:Bioluminescent; mouth brooder (males)

Depth:11-46 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:2.8 cm SL


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