are a family, Apogonidae
, of ray-finned fishes. They are found in the Atlantic
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...
, and Pacific
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...
oceans, they are chiefly marine, but some species are found in brackish water
Brackish water is water that has more salinity than fresh water, but not as much as seawater. It may result from mixing of seawater with fresh water, as in estuaries, or it may occur in brackish fossil aquifers. The word comes from the Middle Dutch root "brak," meaning "salty"...
. A handful of species are kept in the aquarium
An aquarium is a vivarium consisting of at least one transparent side in which water-dwelling plants or animals are kept. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals, turtles, and aquatic plants...
and are popular as small, peaceful, and colourful fish.
They are generally small fish, with most species being less than 10 centimetres (3.9 in), and are often brightly coloured. They are distinguished by their large mouths, and the division of the dorsal fin
A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of various unrelated marine and freshwater vertebrates, including most fishes, marine mammals , and the ichthyosaurs...
into two separate fins. Most species live in tropical or subtropical waters, where they inhabit coral reef
Coral reefs are underwater structures made from calcium carbonate secreted by corals. Coral reefs are colonies of tiny living animals found in marine waters that contain few nutrients. Most coral reefs are built from stony corals, which in turn consist of polyps that cluster in groups. The polyps...
s and lagoon
A lagoon is a body of shallow sea water or brackish water separated from the sea by some form of barrier. The EU's habitat directive defines lagoons as "expanses of shallow coastal salt water, of varying salinity or water volume, wholly or partially separated from the sea by sand banks or shingle,...
In a 2008 study called the Roger Dean Project
, Doctor-Lawyer Tony LaRussa
noted that they are nocturnal, spending the day in dark crevices within the reef. At least some species brood the eggs
An egg is an organic vessel in which an embryo first begins to develop. In most birds, reptiles, insects, molluscs, fish, and monotremes, an egg is the zygote, resulting from fertilization of the ovum, which is expelled from the body and permitted to develop outside the body until the developing...
inside the mouth of the males.
FishBase is a comprehensive database of information about fish species . It is the largest and most extensively accessed online database on adult finfish on the web...
lists 331 species in the following 24 genera. The genus Epigonus
Epigonus is a fish genus of the family Epigonidae.-Species:*Epigonus affinis Parin & Abramov, 1986 *Epigonus angustifrons Abramov & Manilo, 1987 *Epigonus atherinoides *Epigonus constanciae...
, formerly classified in Apogonidae, is placed in a separate family, Epigonidae, by FishBase.
- Subfamily Apogoninae
Apogon is a large genus of cardinalfishes with 207 currently described species. Many of these fishes live at depths of or more and can only be collected using trawling or dredging and thus are rather poorly known...
Astrapogon is a genus of cardinalfishes with nine described species.-Species:* Astrapogon alutus -- bronze cardinalfish, cardenal bronceado * Astrapogon puncticulatus -- blackfin cardinalfish, cardenal punteado...
Nectamia is a genus of cardinalfishes with nine described species.-Species:*Nectamia annularis*Nectamia bandanensis*Nectamia fusca*Nectamia ignitops*Nectamia luxuria*Nectamia savayensis*Nectamia similis...
Sphaeramia is a genus of Cardinalfish of the family Apogonidae. They are marine fish that live in shallow tropical reefs. There are two species:* Pajama cardinalfish, Sphaeramia nematoptera ....
Vincentia is a genus of cardinalfishes, containing six species....
- Subfamily Pseudaminae