Southern Cardinalfish, Vincentia conspersa (Klunzinger 1872)

Other Names: Orange Cardinalfish, Southern Gobbleguts

A Southern Cardinalfish, Vincentia conspersa, in Jawbone Marine Sanctuary, Williamstown, Port Phillip, Victoria, May 2016. Source: Julian K. Finn / Museum Victoria. License: CC by Attribution

A reddish to brownish cardinalfish with small dark brown or blackish spots scattered on the head and body, the head purplish above, and the fins pinkish basally, purple distally. Male cardinalfish brood the developing eggs in their mouths.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Vincentia conspersa in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Apr 2024,

Southern Cardinalfish, Vincentia conspersa (Klunzinger 1872)

More Info


Endemic to southern Australia from Wilsons Promontory, Victoria, to the middle of the Great Australian Bight, South Australia, and south to Bruny Island, Tasmania. Inhabits coastal and inshore reefs with macroslgal cover to depths of 67 m. Southern Cardinalfish shelter in caves and beneath ledges during the day, venturing out at night to feed.


Dorsal fin VIII + I, 9; Anal fin II, 7-9; Pectoral fin 14-15; Pelvic fin I, 5; Caudal fin rays: 17; Lateral line scales 26; Scales below lateral line 9; Gill rakers 1 + 6-7.
Body deep, compressed, head blunt; caudal peduncle of moderate length (24-29% SL); head length 35–42% SL; eye diameter 33–36% HL; scales ctenoid, those in lateral line slightly larger than others; dorsal fins of similar size, sometimes joined by low membrane.


To a maximum length of 15 cm.


Nocturnal carnivores, feeding mostly on small shrimps and other crustaceans.


The sexes are separate and fertilization is external. Males brood the developing eggs in their large mouths, and do not feed during this time.

Similar Species

Differs from the Orange Cardinalfish, Vincentia punctata, in having 7-9 soft rays, vs 10 rays in the anal fin, and a shorter distance between the rear of the second dorsal fin and the beginning of the caudal fin. 


The specific name is derived from the Latin conspersus (=  scattered, strewn), in reference to black spots scattered on the head, anterior part of body, and pectoral fins.

Species Citation

Apogon conspersus Klunzinger 1872, Archiv für Naturgeschichte 38(1): 18. Type locality: Hobsons Bay, Victoria.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Southern Cardinalfish, Vincentia conspersa (Klunzinger 1872)


Allen, G.R. 1987. New Australian Fishes. Part 2. Four new species of Apogonidae. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 48(1): 3-8

Allen, G.R. & Gomon, M.F. 2008. Family Apogonidae. pp. 557-561 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Castelnau, F.L. de 1872. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 1. The Melbourne fish market. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 1: 29-242 1 pl. (described as Apogon guntheri) See ref at BHL

Castelnau, F.L. de 1872. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 2. Note on some South Australian fishes. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 1: 243-248 (described as Vincentia waterhousii) See ref at BHL

Coleman, N. 1980. Australian Sea Fishes South of 30ºS. Lane Cove, NSW : Doubleday Australia Pty Ltd 309 pp. (as Apogon conspersus)

Edgar, G.J., Last, P.R. & Wells, M.W. 1982. Coastal Fishes of Tasmania and Bass Strait. Hobart : Cat & Fiddle Press 175 pp. (as Apogon conspersus)

Fowler, H.W. 1908. A collection of fishes from Victoria, Australia. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 59(3): 419-444 figs 1-10 (described as Mionorus ramsayi) See ref at BHL

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

Gon, O. 1988. Redescription of the holoype of Vincentia conspersa (Klunzinger, 1872) and Apogon punctatus Klunzinger, 1879 (Pisces, Apogonidae). Records of the Western Australian Museum 14(1): 7-13 See ref online

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

Johnston, R.M. 1883. General and critical observations on fishes of Tasmania with a classified catalogue of all known species. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 1882: 53-144 (described as Apogon lemprieri) See ref online

Klunzinger, C.B. 1872. Zur Fische-fauna von Süd Australien. Archiv für Naturgeschichte 38(1): 17-47 pl. 2 Ref at BHL

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

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to sea fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers pp. I-xvii + 1-434

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

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327033

Biology:Males - mouth brooders

Depth:1-67 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:15 cm TL


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CAAB distribution map