Apogon leptocaulus

Common Name

Slendertail Cardinalfish

Year Described

Gilbert, 1972


Dorsal Fin: VI, I-9
Anal Fin: II, 8
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Pectoral Fin: 12
Gill Rakers: 5-6 upper, 15-16 lower; 20-22 total
Vertebrae: 10 precaudal, 14 caudal

A small fish with a fairly slender and moderately compressed body. Caudal peduncle very long and slender. 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). Teeth extend onto outer premaxillary. Preopercular edge with a serrate margin. Preopercular flap extends past the preopercular rear margin. There are two dorsal fins. The caudal fin is weakly forked. Body scales ctenoid. Predorsal scales 8. Scales around caudal peduncle number 8. Lateral line scales around 25.


Body dark red with dark brown scale edges. Very broad dark brown bands on the body: one band covers nearly the entire base of the second dorsal and anal fin and another is on the caudal peduncle. There is another area of dark pigment on the trunk. Fins are reddish with darker lobes.


Maximum size to 52mm SL.


Deep reefs from 20-30m.


Scattered records from the Florida Keys, Bahamas, Belize, Honduras, and Colombia.


Gilbert, C. R. 1972. Apogon leptocaulus, a new cardinalfish from Florida and the western Caribbean Sea. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington v. 85 (no. 36): 419-425.

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.