Bulls-eye Cardinalfish, Apogonichthyoides atripes (Ogilby 1916)

Other Names: Blackfinned Cardinalfish

A Bulls-eye Cardinalfish, Apogonichthyoides atripes, on the Gold Coast Seaway, Queensland, June 2015. Source: debaston / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A brown to almost black cardinalfish with an ocellated spot on the body that is larger than the eye pupil. The species also has a dark second dorsal fin with a broad translucent to whitish or yellowish outer margin, black pelvic fins, a translucent to whitish or yellowish caudal fin, and a narrow black diagonal bar across the cheek. The species may also have indistinct bars along the side. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Apogonichthyoides atripes in Fishes of Australia, accessed 08 Dec 2022, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4999

Bulls-eye Cardinalfish, Apogonichthyoides atripes (Ogilby 1916)

More Info


Shark Bay, Western Australia, around the tropical north to at least Sydney, New South Wales. Inhabits sheltered coastal bays and estuaries including silty areas, often sheltering around sponges, soft-corals and other objects.


Dorsal fin VII, + I, 9; Anal fin II, 8.
Posterior margin of preopercle coarsely serrated; caudal peduncle short; caudal fin slightly rounded with rounded corners; pelvic fins larger than dorsal fin


Prior to 2010, most Australian records of this species had been misidentified as Apogon nigripinnis.


The specific name atripes is from the Latin ater (= black) and pes (= foot), in reference to the black pelvic fins of this species. 

Species Citation

Amia nigripes Ogilby, 1916, Proc. Royal Soc. Qld 28: 116. Type locality: Sandgate, Queensland, Australia.
A replacement name for Apogon nigripes Ogilby 1911, preoccupied by Apogon nigripes Playfair 1867 (now Ostorhinchus atripes).


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Bulls-eye Cardinalfish, Apogonichthyoides atripes (Ogilby 1916)


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

Fraser, T.H. 2010. A new deepwater species of the genus Apogonichthyoides (Apogonidae) from the Timor Sea, north-western Australia. aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology 16(3): 93-100.

Fraser, T.H. & Allen, G.R. 2010. Cardinalfish of the genus Apogonichthyoides Smith, 1949 (Apogonidae) with a description of a new species from the West Pacific region. Zootaxa 2348: 40–56.

Fraser, T.H. & Allen, G.R. 2011. A new cardinalfish of the genus Apogonichthyoides (Perciformes, Apogonidae) from Raja Ampat Islands, with a key to species. Zootaxa 3095: 63-68.

Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp. (as Apogon nigripinnis)

Gon, O. 2000. The taxonomic status of the cardinalfish species Apogon niger, A. nigripinnis, A. pharaonis, A. sialis, and related species (Perciformes: Apogonidae). The J.L.B Smith Institute of Ichthyology Special Publication 65: 1-20.

Gon, O. 2000, The taxonomic status of the cardinalfish species Apogon niger, A. nigripinnis, A. pharaonis, A. sialis, and related species (Perciformes: Apogonidae). The J.L.B Smith Institute of Ichthyology Special Publication 65: 1-20.

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp. (as Apogon atripes)

Kuiter, R.H. 1992. Tropical Reef-Fishes of the Western Pacific, Indonesia and Adjacent Waters. Jakarta : PT Gramedia Pustaka Utama 314 pp. pls. (as Apogon atripes)

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

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. & Kuiter, S. 2018. Coastal sea-fishes of south-eastern Australia. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, 371 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

Ogilby, J.D. 1911. Descriptions of new or insufficiently described fishes from Queensland waters. Annals of the Queensland Museum 10: 36-58 figs 5-6 See ref at BHL (described as Amia nigripes, which, at the time, was considered a junior secondary homonym of Apogon nigripes Playfair, 1867, and therefore invalid)

Ogilby, J.D. 1916. Three undescribed Queensland fishes. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Queensland 28: 112-116. See ref at BHL

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1984. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls. (as Apogon nigripinnis)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37327129

Biology:Mouth brooder (males)

Depth:6-30 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:9 cm TL


Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map