Fragile cardinalfish (species: Zoramia viridiventer) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Zoramia viridiventer
Fragile cardinalfish

©Rick Stuart-Smith: Zoramia viridiventer, Lizard Island area.

©Andy Lewis: A pair of adult Fragile Cardinalfish

©Andy Lewis: A school of Zoramia viridiventer aggregating over a coral head.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Apogonidae
Genus Zoramia
Species Zoramia viridiventer



Distinguishing features

A small translucent fish with a yellowish eye and dark dots at the base of the tail and on the upper caudal fin. Usually seen in schools near coral bommies that have overhanging ledges and caves, or amongst staghorn coral.


  • Up to 4.2 cm (Length according to Greenfield et al (2005))

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Distribution and habitat preferences

Areas of live branching coral (usually staghorn Acropora) on top of coral heads, and also near caves.

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


  • Abdulla, A. (2004). Predator-prey interactions in coral reef fish: the implications of predation risk on the behaviour and growth of prey, Ph.D. thesis, James Cook University. LIRS catalog number 1296.
  • Barnett, A. (2004). The trophic and reproductive implications of mouthbrooding in apogonid fishes, Honours thesis, James Cook University. LIRS catalog number 946.
  • Barnett, A. and D.R. Bellwood (2005). Sexual dimorphism in the buccal cavity of paternal mouthbrooding cardinalfishes (Pisces: Apogonidae), Marine Biology, 148: 205-212. LIRS catalog number 1021.
  • View all references