Apogon planifrons

Common Name

Pale Cardinalfish

Year Described

Longley & Hildebrand, 1940


Dorsal Fin: VI, I-9
Anal Fin: II, 8
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Pectoral Fin: 12
Gill Rakers: 6 upper, 13-16 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. Both jaws, palatine, and vomer with narrow bands of villiform teeth (no canines). Preopercular edge with a slightly serrate margin. Preopercular flap does not extend past the preopercular rear margin. There are two dorsal fins. The caudal fin is emarginate. Body scales ctenoid. Scales around the caudal peduncle 15-16.


Body pale pink to pearly white, often with an opalescent blue, green, and yellow sheen. A think bar under the second dorsal fin runs to the anal fin. Another oval dark blotch on the caudal peduncle (thicker than the frist bar). Fins are pale.


Maximum size to 100mm TL.


Coral and rocky reefs from 1-30m. Found in dark recesses and caves.


S. Florida to Venezuela, including the eastern 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.