Astrapogon puncticulatus

Common Name

Blackfin Cardinalfish

Year Described

Poey, 1867


Dorsal Fin: VI, I-9
Anal Fin: II, 8
Pelvic Fin: I, 5
Pectoral Fin: 15-17
Gill Rakers: 4-5 upper, 12-14 lower (first arch)
Vertebrae: 10 precaudal, 14-15 caudal
Lateral Line: 23-45 pored scales

A small fish with a fairly robust and moderately compressed body. Eye is large and the snout short. Head profile rounded between orbits. Mouth is fairly large and oblique, with the lower jaw slightly protruding. Jaws with bands of villiform teeth. Vomer and palatine with villiform teeth. Preopercular edge with a smooth margin. There are two dorsal fins. The caudal fin is truncate to slightly forked. Pelvic fin large and expanded: extending to anterior half of anal fin. Body scales cycloid. Predorsal scales absent.


Body pale with large blotches of bronze or brown and a fine peppering of black melanophores. Sometimes has a pearly sheen. Four black bars radiate from eyes. Fins with a mix of large brown and tiny black melanophores. Front of first dorsal fin black. Pelvic fin yellowish to bronze. Second dorsal, anal, and caudal fin with white translucent margin clear of melanophores. Eye yellow to dark bronze.


Maximum size to 63mm TL.


Found mostly in shallow coastal waters and seagrass beds. Often found in conch shells but never live ones.


S. Florida to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. 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.