The banggai cardinalfish is often found in groups of six. However, a group of 500 has been recorded!
  • Size

    Maximum length of 3.1 inches (8 cm)
  • Diet

    Copepods (planktonic crustaceans), marine worms, mollusks and fish larvae
  • Range

    Banggai Islands of eastern Indonesia
  • Habitat

    Shallow habitats, coral reefs and bays

Physical Characteristics

  • Coloration is silver with three vertical black bands across the body. White dots are present between bars and on all fins except the front dorsal fin.
    • These dot patterns are unique to each fish.
  • First dorsal fin is tasseled.
  • Second dorsal fin, anal fin and caudal fin are elongated.
  • Caudal fin is forked.
  • Maximum length of 3.1 inches (8 cm).

Animal Fact

The banggai cardinalfish feeding behavior decreases as the day goes on and ends around sunset.

Diet / Feeding

  • Diet mainly consists of copepods (planktonic crustaceans). However, this species is an opportunistic feeder and will also eat marine worms, mollusks and fish larvae.
  • Feeding behavior decreases as the day goes on and ends around sunset.
  • May play an important role in coral reef habitats by eating larvae of parasites that target other fish in the habitat.

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Banggai Islands of eastern Indonesia.
  • Typically found in shallow habitats, often with sandy bottoms and sea grass. Can also be found in coral reefs and bays where water is relatively still.

Reproduction & Growth

  • Oviparous, or egg-laying species.
  • Female chooses a male mate, and together the two fish establish and guard a territory.
  • Engages in paternal mouthbrooding; after the female spawns up to 75 eggs, the male holds and guards the eggs in a pouch in the mouth.
  • Eggs hatch in about 20 days and develop another 10 days before being released from the mouth.
  • During the brooding period, the male does not eat; it will turn the eggs inside its mouth and expels dead eggs.

Conservation Status

  • “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.
  •  Found only in the Banggai Islands, this specie’s highly restricted geographical range increases its vulnerability to threats.
  • Overexploitation caused by the commercial aquarium trade is the main threat to this species.
  • Habitat degradation due to pollution and the illegal use of dynamite is also a threat.

Additional Information

  • Usually lives in groups of up to six fish, though a group of 500 has been recorded.
  • May associate with bottom-dwelling organisms such as sea anemones, sea urchins and corals.


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