Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Type: Article
Published: 2018-01-31
Page range: 178–190
Abstract views: 83
PDF downloaded: 2

Redescription of the Indo-West Pacific cardinalfishes (Perciformes: Apogonidae) Rhabdamia spilota Allen & Kuiter 1994 and R. gracilis (Bleeker 1856)

The United Graduate School of Agricultural Sciences, Kagoshima University, 1–21–24 Korimoto, Kagoshima 890–0065, Japan.
The Kagoshima University Museum, 1–21–30 Korimoto, Kagoshima 890–0065, Japan.
Perciformes Teleostei new records distribution taxonomy identification


Rhabdamia spilota Allen & Kuiter 1994 (Apogonidae), a poorly known cardinalfish previously known only from the Philippines, Indonesia and the Red Sea, is redescribed on the basis of 70 specimens (20.9–61.2 mm standard length) (including types), from the Indo-West Pacific (Red Sea, Andaman Sea, Japan, South China Sea, the Philippines, Indonesia, New Caledonia, and Australia). Because most reports of the similar species R. gracilis (Bleeker 1856), following its original description, were based on misidentifications, R. gracilis is also redescribed (based on 98 Indo-West Pacific specimens from Seychelles, Maldives, Andaman Sea, Japan, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Caledonia, and Australia, 27.9–59.3 mm standard length); a lectotype is designated for it. Rhabdamia spilota differs from R. gracilis in having 27–33 (mode 30–31) developed gill rakers [vs. 22–27 (mode 24) in the latter], 27–33 (30) gill rakers including rudiments [vs. 23–27 (24–25)], a black stripe from the jaw tips to the anterior margin of the orbit (vs. black pigments only at snout and tip of lower jaw), 3–6 reddish brown to blackish blotches on the opercle and anterior of body (vs. blotches absent), and indistinct black pigment restricted to caudal fin outer margins (vs. pigment scattered over entire fin). Rhabdamia gracilis exhibits sexual dichromatism, female specimens larger than 41.3 mm SL having one or two black stripes on the lateral surface of the body; the stripes are absent in males and smaller females. No evidence of sexual dichromatism was found in R. spilota.



  1. Ahlstrom, E.H., Butler, J.L. & Sumida, B.Y. (1976) Pelagic stromateoid fishes (Pisces, Perciformes) of the eastern Pacific: kinds, distributions, and early life histories and observations on five of these from the northwest Atlantic. Bulletin of Marine Science, 26, 285–402.

    Allen, G.R. & Adrim, M. (2003) Coral reef fishes of Indonesia. Zoological Studies, 42, 1–72.

    Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. (2012) Reef fishes of the East Indies. Vols. 1–3. Tropical Reef Research, Perth, x + 1260 pp.

    Allen, G.R. & Kuiter, R.H. (1994) Descriptions of two news species of cardinalfishes (Apogonidae) from Malaysia and Indonesia. Revue française d'Aquariologie Herpétologie, 21, 19–23.

    Allen, G.R., Steen, R.C., Humann, P. & Deloach, M. (2005) Reef fish identification – tropical Pacific. New World Publications Inc., Jacknoville, 457 pp.

    Allen, G.R., Steen, R.C., Humann, P. & Deloach, M. (2015) Reef fish identification – tropical Pacific. Second Edition. New World Publications Inc., Jacknoville, 475 pp.

    Bleeker, P. (1856) Zevende bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Ternate. Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië, 10, 357–386.

    Bleeker, P. (1876–1877) Atlas ichthyologique des Indes Orientales Néêrlandaises, publié sous les auspices du gouvernement colonial néêrlandais. Tome VIII. Percoides II, (Spariformes), Bogodoides, Cirrhités. Frederic Muller, Amsterdam, 156 pp., 321–354, 361–362 pls.

    Fraser, T.H. (1972) Comparative osteology of the shallow water cardinal fishes [Perciformes: Apogonidae] with reference to the systematics and evolution of the family. Ichthyological Bulletin of the J. L. B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, 34, i–v +1–105.

    Gon, O. & Randall, J.E. (2003) A review of the cardinalfishes (Perciformes: Apogonidae) of the Rea Sea. Smithiana, 1, 1–48.

    Hirata, T., Yamaoka, K., Kanda, M. & Hirata, S. (2001) Atlas of fishes in life mode. In: Nakabo, T., Machida, Y., Yamaoka, K. & Nishida, K. (Eds.), Fishes of the Kuroshio Current, Japan. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Osaka, pp. 42–111.

    ICZN (The International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature) (1999) International code of zoological nomenclature, 4th edition. Adopted by the General Assembly of the International Union of Biological Sciences. International Trust for Zoological Nomenclature, London, xxix + 306 pp.

    Mabuchi, K. (2001) Rhabdamia gracilis. In: Nakabo, T., Machida, Y., Yamaoka, K. & Nishida, K. (Eds.), Fishes of the Kuroshio Current, Japan. Osaka Aquarium Kaiyukan, Osaka, 185 pp.

    Mabuchi, K., Fraser, T.H., Song, H., Azuma, Y. & Nishida, M. (2014) Revison of the systematics of the cardinalfishes (Percomorpha: Apogonidae) based on molecular analyses and comparative reevalution of morphological characters. Zootaxa, 3846 (2), 151–203.

    Miura, N. (2012) Fishes in Chinen Market, Okinawa. Wave Kikaku, Yonabaru, 140 pp. [in Japanese]

    Motomura, H. & Ishikawa, S. (Eds.) (2013). Fish Collection Building and Procedures Manual. English Edition. The Kagoshima University Museum, Kagoshima and the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, 70 pp. Available from: (accessed 19 January 2018)

    Sabaj Pérez, M.H. (2016) Standard symbolic codes for institutional resource collections in herpetology and ichthyology: an online reference. Version 6.5. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists, Washington, DC. Available from: (accessed 16 August 2016)

    Yoshida, T. (2017). Rhabdamia spilota. In: Motomura, H., Alama, U.B., Muto, N., Babaran, R.P. & Ishikawa, S. (Eds.), Commercial and bycatch market fishes of Panay Island, Republic of the Philippines. The Kagoshima University Museum, Kagoshima, University of the Philippines Visayas, Iloilo, and Research Institute for Humanity and Nature, Kyoto, 100 pp.

    Yoshida, T. & Motomura, H. (2013). Rhabdamia gracilis. In: Motomura, H., Dewa, S., Furuta, K. & Matsuura, K. (Eds.), Fishes of Iou-jima and Take-shima islands, Mishima, Kagoshima, Japan. The Kagoshima University Museum, Kagoshima, and the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tsukuba, pp. 136–138.

    Yoshida, T. & Motomura, H. (2016) A new cardinalfish, Verulux solmaculata (Perciformes: Apogonidae), from Papua New Guinea and Australia. Ichthyological Research, 64 (1), 64–70.