The Apogonidae family are residents of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans; although most are marine, some species are found in brackish water and a few are even found in fresh water. They often favour caves and lagoons, and are usually nocturnal by habit. Generally, these are small, timid fishes and they are usually peaceful with other species, indeed they are more likely to be the target of aggression than the culprits. A number of species have been bred in captivity. Some authorities split the 40 or so genera that form the family into 2 subfamilies but we haven’t done that in this gallery as yet, for simplicity.
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Apogon genus – the largest genus in the family, there are around 50 Apogon species. These fish are generally small and live at moderate depths where they congregate in caves and grottos, sometimes in large numbers. Nocturnal by nature, they venture out to feed at night on swarming zooplankton.
Apogonichthyoides genus – This genus was separated from Apogon in 2010. The 24 species that form the genus are light brown to brownish black in color, often with dark, elongated spots or stripes. Usually, they have a line on the cheek and two bars on the body. Some species have an eye-like spot on the side of the body.
Fowleria genus – this genus contains 7 species which are all native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The name of the genus honours the American Ichthyologist Henry Weed Fowler (1878-1965) of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, who attended Stanford University.
Ostorhinchus genus – with 93 species, this genus is native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans. The etymology of the word Ostorhinchus is Greek, with Ostor- stemming from ὀστέον (bone), and -rhinchus stemming from ῥῠ́γχος (Ancient Greek) or ρύγχος (Modern Greek), the meaning of which can be beak. The latter refers to the genus’ advanced boned jaw.
Pristiapogon genus – 5 species.
Pseudamia genus – notable for their relatively elongated bodies and rounded tails, there are 7 species in this genus. They are rarely encountered in the ornamental trade, being nocturnal and extremely cryptic, even in nature. Some authors suggest that those that do make it into the trade are likely to have been collected with drugs.
Pterapogon genus – there is only one species in this genus but it is perhaps the most iconic of all ornamental Cardinalfishes.
Sphaeramia genus – 2 species.
Zoramia genus – 6 species.