Pinstripe Cardinalfish, Fibramia lateralis (Valenciennes 1832)

Other Names: Coastal Cardinalfish, Humpback Cardinal, Mangrove Cardinalfish

A Pinstripe Cardinalfish, Fibramia lateralis, at Guam. Source: David Burdick / License: All rights reserved

A pale silvery cardinalfish with a narrow mid-lateral stripe extending from a small dusky spot on the upper part of the gill cover to at, or before a small black spot or ocellus on the caudal peduncle. The Pinstripe Cardinalfish also has dark leading edges on both dorsal fins, a dusky sub-basal stripe on the anal fin and second dorsal fin, and a relatively deep body with a slightly concave head profile.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Fibramia lateralis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 11 Dec 2023,

Pinstripe Cardinalfish, Fibramia lateralis (Valenciennes 1832)

More Info


The Kimberley coast, Western Australia, and the Northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west Pacific: East Africa, Seychelles, Madagascar and Mauritius (Mascarenes), east to Micronesia, Tonga and Samoa, north to the Ryukyu Islands, southern Japan, south to Australia and New Caledonia.
Small aggregations inhabit algal-covered coral rubble areas on shallow sheltered inshore reefs and in mangrove lined estuaries and creeks. 


Dorsal fin VI + I, 9; Anal fin II, 8; Pectoral fin 14.  
Body relatively deep; head profile slightly concave.


Feeds on benthic invertebrates and small fishes.


Cardinalfishes form distinct breeding pairs and males brood the eggs in their mouths. 


The species is tolerant of a range of salinites, occurring in habitats ranging from the lower freshwater reaches of streams, to mangrove-lined estuaries and shallow inshore reefs.


The specific name is from the Latin lateralis (= of the side, or belonging to the side), presumably in reference to the narrow dark mid-lateral stripe of this species.

Species Citation

Apogon lateralis Valenciennes 1832, Nouvelles Annales du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle (Paris) 1: 58. Type locality: Vanikoro Island, Santa Cruz Islands (as Vanicolo).


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Pinstripe Cardinalfish, Fibramia lateralis (Valenciennes 1832)


Allen, G.R. 1993. Cardinalfishes (Apogonidae) of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, with descriptions of three new species. Revue française d'aquariologie 20(1): 9-20. (as Apogon lateralis)

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

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. (as Ostorhinchus lateralis)

Dela Paz, R. & Aragones, N. 1985. Mangrove fishes of Pagbilao (Quezon Province, Luzon Island), with notes on their abundance and seasonality. Natural and Applied Science Bulletin 37(2): 171-190. (as Apogon lateralis)

Fraser, T.H. & Lachner, E.A. 1989. A revision of the cardinalfish subgenera Pristiapogon and Zoramia (genus Apogon) of the Indo-Pacific region (Teleostei: Apogonidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology 412: i-iii + 1-47 (as Apogon lateralis)

Gon, O. 2012. Ostorhinchus lateralis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T155273A729102. Downloaded on 30 May 2021.

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

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 1. Eels - Snappers, Muraenidae - Lutjanidae. Australia : Zoonetics pp. 1-302. (as Apogon lateralis)

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

Moore, G.I., Morrison, S.M., Hutchins, J.B., Allen, G.R. & Sampey, A. 2014. Kimberley marine biota. Historical data: fishes. Records of the Western Australian Museum Supplement 84: 161–206. issn.0313-122x.84.2014.161-206

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press, 720 pp. (as Ostorhinchus lateralis)

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 lateralis)

Valenciennes, A. 1832. Descriptions de plusieurs espèces nouvelles de poissons du genre Apogon. Nouvelles Annales du Muséum d'Histoire Naturelle (Paris) 1: 51-60, Pl. 4. See ref at BHL

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327064

Biology:Mouth brooder (males)

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-3 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:11 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map