Coral Siphonfish, Siphamia corallicola Allen 1993

Other Names: Coral Cardinalfish

A Coral Siphonfish, Siphamia corallicola, in Lembeh Straits, Sulawesi, Indonesia, October 2016. Source: Jim Greenfield / FishBase. License: All rights reserved

A siphonfish with reddish-brown to brown mottling or large blotches in five broad irregular bands separated by narrow silvery interspaces along the side, a silvery band across the top of the head at the rear of the eye, and an indistinct dark spot or blotch on the tail base.

Video of a male Coral Siphonfish (aka Coral Cardinalfish) brooding a mouthful of eggs.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Siphamia corallicola in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Jun 2024,

Coral Siphonfish, Siphamia corallicola Allen 1993

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Flat Top Bank, Timor Sea, west of Darwin, Northern Territory. Elswhere the species occurs in the tropical, west Pacific: Indonesia east to the Philippines and Papua New Guinea. 
Groups of up to 40 individuals may hover above or shelter within branching corals such as the pocilloporid coral Seriatopora hystrix, and among sponges in protected bays, lagoons and coastal inlets.


Dorsal fin VIII + 9; Anal fin II, 8; Pectoral fin 11-12; Lateral line incomplete 6-13 tubed scales.
Light organ scattered with dark brown dots.


Forms breeding pairs.


The specific name corallicola  –icola, dweller or inhabitant, i.e., coral dwelling, referring to its habitat

Species Citation

Siphamia corallicola Allen, 1993, Revue Française d'Aquariologie et Herpétologie 20(1): 12, figs 4-6. Type locality: Tab Island, Madang, Papua New Guinea.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Coral Siphonfish, Siphamia corallicola Allen 1993


Allen, G.R. 1993. Cardinalfishes (Apogonidae) of Madang Province, Papua New Guinea, with descriptions of three new species. Revue Française d'Aquariologie et Herpétologie 20(1): 9-20.

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.

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

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.

Gon, O. & Allen, G.R. 2012. Revision of the Indo-Pacific cardinalfish genus Siphamia (Perciformes: Apogonidae). Zootaxa 3294: 1-84,

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,

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327175

Biology:Bioluminescent, mouth brooders (males)

Depth:6-22 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:4 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map