Paroncheilus affinis

Common Name

Bigtooth Cardinalfish

Year Described

Poey, 1875


Dorsal Fin: VI, I-9
Anal Fin: II, 9 (only Apogon with 9 anal fin rays)
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Pectoral Fin: 12
Gill Rakers: 4-5 upper, 14-15 lower
Vertebrae: 10 precaudal, 14-15 caudal

A small fish with a fairly robust and moderately compressed body. Eye is large and the snout short. Mouth is fairly large and oblique, with the lower jaw slightly protruding. Upper jaw with 2-4 large canines, followed by a band of villiform teeth. Lower jaw with two bands of teeth: the outer villiform and the inner of recurved canines. Vomer with canine teeth. Palatine with villiform teeth. Preopercular edge with a slightly serrate margin. Preopercular flap extends to or slightly past the preopercular rear margin. There are two dorsal fins. The caudal fin is forked. Body scales ctenoid.


Body pale translucent pink to salmon, with silvery peritoneum and dark vertebral column visible. Scale edges in pectoral region, lower cheek, and top of head often with a yellowish opalescent sheen. A yellowish to dusky stripe passes from snout to opercular edge, often with tiny dark speckles. Fins clear except for limited dark pigment on caudal fin edge. Males with a black chin flap.


Maximum size to 88mm SL.


Coral and rocky reefs from 20-90m. Usually associated with dark recesses and overhangs within the reef structure.


Florida Keys to Suriname, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. Also Bermuda.


Gon, O. 2002. Apogonidae (pp 1386-1391). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 3: Bony fishes part 2 (Opistognathidae to Molidae), sea turtles and sea mammals. FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5.

McEachran, J.D. & J.D. Fechhelm. 2005. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 2: Scorpaeniformes to Tetraodontiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin. i-viii +1-1004.