Urchin Cardinalfish (species: Siphamia tubifer) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Siphamia tubifer
Urchin Cardinalfish

©Marianne Dwyer: Siphamia tubifer among spines of the sea urchin Diademaat the lagoon bommie, Lizard Island.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Perciformes
Family Apogonidae
Genus Siphamia
Species Siphamia tubifer



Distinguishing features

Alternating black and white stripes but can change quickly to completely black. Live among spines of sea urchins; can display distinctive vibrating behaviour.


  • Up to 5 cm (Length according to Allen and Erdmann (2012))

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.


Similar taxa


by Anne Hoggett


©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island: It is not uncommon to find cardinalfishes associated with Crown-of-Thorns Starfish at Lizard Island. Contrary to the observations of Stier et al (2009) in French Polynesia, this may occur in coral-rich areas.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Allen and M.V. Erdmann, G.R. (2012). Reef fishes of the East Indies. Volumes I-III in: Reef fishes of the East Indies. Tropical Reef Research, Perth, Australia. LIRS catalog number 90162.
  • Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen and R.C. Steene (1997). Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea: Second edition Crawford House Publishing, Bathurst, NSW.

Other references

  • Leis, J.M. and S. Bullock (1986). The luminous cardinalfish Siphamia (Pisces, Apogonidae): development of larvae and the luminous organ, "Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Indo-Pacific Fishes". : 703-714. LIRS catalog number 207.
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