Orbiculate Cardinalfish, Sphaeramia orbicularis (Cuvier 1828)

Other Names: Coral Cardinalfish, Orbicular Cardinalfish, Polka-dot Cardinalfish

An Orbiculate cardinalfish, Sphaeramia orbicularis, at Raja Ampat, West Papua, Indonesia. Source: Paddy Ryan / http://www.ryanphotographic.com/. License: All rights reserved

A pale greyish cardinalfish with a dark bar from first dorsal-fin origin to just before the anus and onto the pelvic fin, and dark spots scattered on the rear of the body.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Sphaeramia orbicularis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Mar 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4973

Orbiculate Cardinalfish, Sphaeramia orbicularis (Cuvier 1828)

More Info


Kelloway Reef, Bynoe Harbour, and Darwin, Northern Territory.  The species occurs elsewhere in the tropical, Indo-west-central Pacific. Inhabits sheltered bays and shorelines, aggregating among mangrove roots, rocks, debris, or under piers.


Pairs spawn fortnightly just before new moons and full moons, and males incubate the eggs for about 8 days. Sexual maturity is attained at 7 cm by males and at 6 cm by females.

Species Citation

Sphaeramia orbicularis Cuvier, 1828, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 2: 155. Type locality: Java, Indonesia.


Dianne J. Bray

Orbiculate Cardinalfish, Sphaeramia orbicularis (Cuvier 1828)


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. 2009. Field Guide to Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-East Asia. Welshpool : Western Australian Museum Edn. 4, 287 pp.

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

Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1828. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : Levrault Vol. 2 xxi, 2 + 490 pp., pls 9-40.

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293.

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.

Myers, R.F. 1991. Micronesian reef fishes. Second Ed. Coral Graphics, Barrigada, Guam. 298 pp.

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327184

Biology:Mouth brooder (males)

Depth:0-5 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:12 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map