Plectrypops retrospinis

Common Name

Cardinal Soldierfish

Year Described

Guichenot, 1853


Dorsal Fin: XII, 13-14
Anal Fin: IV, 10-12
Pectoral Fin: 16-18
Lateral Line Scales: 32-36
Vertebrae: 26 (total)
Gill Rakers: 23-27

Body stout and robust with a large head and eye. Head with moderate to small spines around eye directed anteriorly basally; smaller and posteriorly dorsally Snout pointed with spines. Strong interorbital groove present. Strong spines and ridges on preopercle and opercle. Rear dorsal, anal, and caudal fins rounded. Last dorsal spine shorter than second to last spine. Tail relatively small compared to body. Scales obvious and rough.


Body uniformly bright red, often with paler scale centers. Membranes of spiny dorsal fin red with clear tips. Second dorsal and anal fin membranes clear.


Maximum size to 15cm SL


Inhabits reefs and deep rocky areas from 2-240m where it lives deep in sheltered regions by day.


South Florida to Brazil, including the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. Also Bermuda.


McEachran, J.D. and J.D. Fechhelm. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 1: Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin. i-viii + 1-1112.