Blackspot Cardinalfish (species: Taeniamia melasma) in ALA: Lizard Island (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Taeniamia melasma
Blackspot Cardinalfish

©Andy Lewis: A male Blackspot Cardinalfish

©Andy Lewis: A school of Taeniamia melasma resting above staghorn coral
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Apogonidae
Genus Taeniamia
Species Taeniamia melasma



Distinguishing features

A small semi-translucent fish with a blue-tinged eye with a darker streak below, a spot above the operculum and a series of fine orange chevrons along the body. Usually seen in schools near staghorn coral.


  • Up to 9 cm (Standard length)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa

  • Animalia: species: Taeniamia biguttata
    is a valid species and the name has been used for Australian specimens. However, the species has not been confirmed within Australia (Fishes of Australia website accessed 22 oct 2021) and Lizard Island records of that species are assumed to be misidentified T. melasma.


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Areas of live branching coral (usually staghorn Acropora).

Found in most sheltered reef habitats around the island.


A nocturnal predator on crustacean zooplankton, these fish rest during the day close to the shelter of branching staghorn corals. They breed October - February, and the male fish hold the eggs in the mouth for 3-5days until the larvae hatch. Cardinalfishes have very short lifespans, becoming mature at 1 year old and living for only 3-5 years.

Web resources


  • Doving, K.B., O.B. Stabell, S. Ostlund-Nilsson and R. Fisher (2006). Site fidelity and homing in tropical coral reef cardinalfish: are they using olfactory cues? Chemical Senses, 31: 265-272. LIRS catalog number 990.
  • Fraser, T.H. (2013). A new genus of cardinalfish (Apogonidae: Percomorpha), redescription of Archamia and resemblances and relationships with Kurtus (Kurtidae: Percomorpha), Zootaxa, 3714(1): 1. LIRS catalog number 90225.
  • Gardiner, N.M. and G.P. Jones (2005). Habitat specialisation and overlap in a guild of coral reef cardinalfishes (Apogonidae), Marine Ecology Progress Series, 305: 163-175. LIRS catalog number 90014.
  • View all references