Ostorhinchus cyanosoma

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Ostorhinchus cyanosoma
Apogon cf. cyanosoma.JPG
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Kurtiformes
Family: Apogonidae
Genus: Ostorhinchus
O. cyanosoma
Binomial name
Ostorhinchus cyanosoma
(Bleeker, 1853)

Apogon cyanosoma Bleeker, 1853

Ostorhinchus cyanosoma, commonly known as the yellow-striped cardinalfish, goldenstriped cardinalfish, or the orange-lined cardinalfish,[1] is a species of marine fish in the cardinalfish family (family Apogonidae) of order Perciformes. It is native to the Indo-West Pacific.

O. cyanosoma is usually a blueish silver color with orange-yellow stripes, and grows to be an average of 6 centimeters. It lives in waters up to 50m in depth, often in lagoons or coral reefs. It is active during the nighttime, feeding on small plants and animals, mostly plankton. It has been the subject of research to test what might happen to marine life by the year 2100, due to predicted carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.



O. moluccensis

O. taeniophorus

O. selas

O. properuptus

O. cyanosoma

O. rubrimacula

O. holotaenia

O. luteus

Selected genetic neighbours[2]

The prolific Dutch East Indies-resident ichthyologist Pieter Bleeker first described this species in 1853 from a specimen taken at Lawajong off Solor Island in modern Indonesia's East Nusa Tenggara province.[3] His unique, original holotype is lodged at the Naturalis Biodiversity Center in the Netherlands.[4]


No one has described a synonymous species, so Bleeker's original species name cyanosoma remains unchallenged. However, the genus Apogon which he placed it in masked significant differences between species. More recently, on the basis of physical (2005)[5] and genetic (2014)[6] characteristics, it has been transferred into the genus Ostorhinchus.

On the journey to dissecting the O. cyanosoma species complex[7] now incorporating O. cyanosoma, O. rubrimacula, O. wassinki, and O. properuptus, the last was for a while considered a synonym of O. cyanosoma.[8]


Large examples of Ostorhinchus cyanosoma grow to 8 cm in length[9] although its average length is 6 cm.[10] The fish is colored silver with a blueish tinge, and has six orange-yellow stripes including a short stripe behind the eye.[9]

A new species (Ostorhinchus rubrimacula) was separated out in 1998 from the O. cyanosoma species complex, with almost identical morphology but with a pinkish-red spot on the tail base,[7] and the genetics were confirmed in 2014.[11] Notably, whilst Bleeker noted red fins ('pinnis rubris') in his original sample, he never noted a red tail spot.[3]


Using a shorthand meristics formula, O. cyanosoma can be described as having:

D, VII + I,9

A, II,8

P, 14

LL, 24

GR, 4–5 + 16–19[9]

Distribution and habitat[edit]


The most comprehensive recent authority locates O. cyanosoma ranging across the Indo-Pacific, from the Red Sea south to east Africa, east via western Australia and Queensland to New Caledonia, and north to Ryukyu and Ogasawara islands.[9]


It lives in clear water areas of lagoons and shallow reefs, inhabiting waters from 1 to 50 meters (usually above 15m), and makes its home under ledges, in holes, and in between the spines of sea urchins.[10]

Coral reef fish settlement tends to be dominated by larval recruitment, but in at least part of Australia's Great Barrier Reef, around one third of recruitment of O. cyanosoma at any given coral reef patch tends to be by adult and juvenile migration across intervening sand and coral debris.[12]

Within the large aggregations in which O. cyanosoma prefers, stable male-female pairs are often found. Individuals in pairs are more likely to live in one site, and to be able to return to that site if removed (with or without their partner), than are unpaired individuals.[13] Retaining a fixed spatial refuge on a reef may be a crucial factor in surviving the often ferocious piscivorous predation found there.[14]


O. cyanosoma specimens have been found with gall bladder infections of Ceratomyxa cyanosomae, Ceratomyxa cardinalis,[15]Ellipsomyxa apogoni, and Zschokkella ohlalae,.[16] Two species have also been found in skeletal muscle cells: Kudoa cheilodipteri and Kudoa whippsi.[17] These tiny cnidarian parasites from class Myxosporea are doubly fascinating because this group can require two intermediate hosts involving two sexual stages (an extremely rare phenomenon in the parasite world).



O. cyanosoma is mainly a nocturnal planktivore, emerging from hiding in coral caves and crevices to feed by hovering just above sandy microhabitats on coral reef flats. By defecating during the daytime in a non-feeding microhabitat, O. cyanosoma probably helps cycle reef nutrients around different communities on the reef. It appears to prefer to eat small benthic sergestid crustaceans rather than the planktonic larvae to be found higher in the water column.[18] However, seasonal or sampling effects may play a role in defining the diet, since in certain years, certain sites appear to suggest that O. cyanosoma is actually eating significant amounts of planktonic copepods and crustacean larvae.[19]

Although its wide mouth gape may be well suited to eating benthic prey, consumption of varying types of prey by cardinalfishes with different mouth shapes appears in reality to be better correlated with varying availability (i.e. many mouth shapes can still make generalist species).[20]


O. cyanosoma is a paternal mouthbrooder. This is likely to be a more important reason for the sexual dimorphism shown by the male's wider gape and more protruding lower jaw, than is its prey specificity. A bigger mouth allows for more eggs to be protected from predation, and for better water circulation (for oxygenation in both eggs and parent).[21]

Pair bonding in O. cyanosoma does not appear to provide the expected genetic benefits of monogamy, indeed like many pair bonding fishes in its family, predation seems to have driven it rather than reproductive exclusivity.[22]

Importance to humans[edit]


Often stationary and visible low on the reef during the day time, aggregations of O. cyanosoma add to the captivating underwater pallette enjoyed by recreational Scuba divers,[23] whose presence also contributes significantly to local economies in often poorer tropical countries.[24]


Export of live specimens contributes to the enjoyment of marine aquarium hobbyists,[25] which if managed appropriately, can also benefit local, often poorer, communities.[26]


O. cyanosoma has been used as a laboratory experimental animal to test what might happen to marine life by the year 2100, given predicted atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide. It appears that the negative effects on fish metabolic rate (and related survival) of ocean acidification caused by extra carbon dioxide dissolution could be equivalent to an extra 3 °C of water temperature (which global warming is already causing).[27] Reef fish populations in higher (cooler) latitudes appear to have more capacity to cope with rising temperatures and acidification than those nearer the equator.[28]


  1. ^ Common names for Ostorhinchus cyanosoma at www.fishbase.org.
  2. ^ Mabuchi, K., Fraser, T.H., Song, H., Azuma, Y. & Nishida, M. (2014): Revision of the systematics of the cardinalfishes (Percomorpha: Apogonidae) based on molecular analyses and comparative reevaluation of morphological characters. Zootaxa, 3846 (2): 151–203.
  3. ^ a b Bleeker, P. (1853). "Bijdrage tot de kennis der ichthyologische fauna van Solor". Natuurkundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië. 5 (1): 71–72.
  4. ^ Eschmeyer, W. N., R. Fricke, and R. van der Laan (eds). "CATALOG OF FISHES: GENERA, SPECIES, REFERENCES". 2 March 2018.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Randall, J. E. (2005). Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. University of Hawai'i Press, Honolulu.
  6. ^ Mabuchi, K., Fraser, T.H., Song, H., Azuma, Y. & Nishida, M. (2014): Revision of the systematics of the cardinalfishes (Percomorpha: Apogonidae) based on molecular analyses and comparative reevaluation of morphological characters. Zootaxa, 3846 (2): 151–203.
  7. ^ a b Randall, J. E. and M. Kulbicki (1998). "Two new cardinalfishes (Perciformes: Apogonidae) of the Apogon cyanosoma complex from the western Pacific, with notes on the status of A. wassinki Bleeker". Revue française d'Aquariologie Herpétologie. 25 (1–2): 31–39.
  8. ^ Paxton, J. R., D. F. Hoese, G. R. Allen and J. E. Hanley (1989). Pisces. Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. 7. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ a b c d Allen, G.R. and M.V. Erdmann 2012 Reef fishes of the East Indies. Tropical Reef Research, Perth, Australia. Volume I, p. 391.
  10. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2018). "Ostorhinchus cyanosoma" in FishBase. February 2018 version.
  11. ^ Mabuchi, K., Fraser, T.H., Song, H., Azuma, Y. & Nishida, M. (2014): Revision of the systematics of the cardinalfishes (Percomorpha: Apogonidae) based on molecular analyses and comparative reevaluation of morphological characters. Zootaxa, 3846 (2): 151–203.
  12. ^ Lewis, A. R. (1997). "Recruitment and post-recruit immigration affect the local population size of coral reef fishes" (PDF). Vision Research. 16: 139–149.
  13. ^ Rueger, T., Gardiner N. M., and G. P. Jones (2013). "Relationships between pair formation, site fidelity and sex in a coral reef cardinalfish". Journal of Environmental Management. 121: 29–36.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Hixon, M. A. (2015). "Predation: piscivory and the ecology of coral reef fishes". In Mora, C. Ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Cambridge University Press. pp. 41–52. ISBN 978-1-107-08918-1.
  15. ^ Heiniger, H., and R. D. Adlard (2013). "Molecular identification of cryptic species of Ceratomyxa Thélohan, 1892 (Myxosporea: Bivalvulida) including the description of eight novel species from apogonid fishes (Perciformes: Apogonidae) from Australian waters". Acta Parasitologica. 58 (3): 342–360. doi:10.2478/s11686-013-0149-3.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  16. ^ Heiniger, H., and R. D. Adlard (2014). "Relatedness of novel species of Myxidium Butschli, 1882, Zschokkella Auerbach, 1910 and Ellipsomyxa Køie, 2003 (Myxosporea: Bivalvulida) from the gall ladders of marine fishes (Teleostei) from Australian waters". Systematic Parasitology. 87: 47–72. doi:10.1007/s11230-013-9454-3.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  17. ^ Heiniger, H., Cribb T. H., and R. D. Adlard (2013). "Intra-specific variation of Kudoa spp. (Myxosporea: Multivalvulida) from apogonid fishes (Perciformes), including the description of two new species, K. cheilodipteri n. sp. and K. cookii n. sp., from Australian waters". Systematic Parasitology. 84: 193–215. doi:10.1007/s11230-012-9400-9.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  18. ^ Marname, M. J. and D. R. Bellwood (2002). "Diet and nocturnal foraging in cardinalfishes (Apogonidae) at One Tree Reef,Great Barrier Reef, Australia" (PDF). Marine Ecology Progress Series. 231: 261–268.
  19. ^ Frédérich, B.; et al. (2017). "Comparative Feeding Ecology of Cardinalfishes (Apogonidae) at Toliara Reef, Madagascar" (PDF). Zoological Studies. 56 (10): 1–14.CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link)
  20. ^ Barnett, A., D. R. Bellwood, and A. S. Hoey (2006). "Trophic ecomorphology of cardinalfish" (PDF). Marine Ecology Progress Series. 322: 249–257.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  21. ^ Hoey A. S., D. R. Bellwood, and Barnett A. (2012). "To feed or to breed: morphological constraints of mouthbrooding in coral reef cardinalfishes". 279: 2426–2432. doi:10.1098/rspb.2011.2679. PMC 3350681.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  22. ^ Brandl, S. J. and D. R. Bellwood (2014). "Pair-formation in coral reef fishes: an ecological perspective" (PDF). 52: 1–80.
  23. ^ https://reefguide.org/yellowstripedcardinalfish.html
  24. ^ Schuhmann, P. W.; et al. (2014). "Recreational SCUBA divers' willingness to pay for marine biodiversity in Barbados". Behavioural Processes. 107: 119–126.CS1 maint: Explicit use of et al. (link)
  25. ^ http://www.tropicalfishkeeping.com/apogonidae-cardinals/yellowstriped-cardinalfish-ostorhinchus-cyanosoma-206642/
  26. ^ Sadovy de Mitcheson, Y., and Yin, X. (2015). "Cashing in on coral reefs: the implications of exporting reef fishes". In Mora, C. Ecology of fishes on coral reefs. Cambridge University Press. pp. 166–179. ISBN 978-1-107-08918-1.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  27. ^ Munday, P. L., Crawley N. E., and G. E. Nilsson (2009). "Interacting effects of elevated temperature and ocean acidification on the aerobic performance of coral reef fishes". Marine Ecology Progress Series. 388: 235–242. doi:10.3354/meps08137.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  28. ^ Gardiner, N. M., Munday, P. L., and G. E. Nilsson (2010). "Counter-Gradient Variation in Respiratory Performance of Coral Reef Fishes at Elevated Temperatures". PLoS ONE. 5 (10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0013299.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)