Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Plectrypops retrospinis, Cardinal Soldierfish, Shy Soldierfish

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

body oval, deep
snout groove narrow, rhomboidal
uniform red
spines under eye point forwards
no large spines on operculum, preoperculum
A 11

Plectrypops retrospinis (Guichenot, 1853)

Cardinal Soldierfish, Shy Soldierfish

Body ovate, deep; snout moderately pointed with relatively long straight forehead; groove on center of forehead an elongate rhomboid; eye large, at upper margin of head; mouth moderately large, slightly oblique; edge of bone under eye with small, slender, curved, partly forward-pointing spines; no large spines at corner of operculum or preoperculum; dorsal with XII spines, last spine shorter than spine before it, divided to base between 11th and 12th spines; anal with IV spines, none extremely long or thick, 11 rays; pelvics I, 7; tail fin small, forked, with strongly rounded lobes; scales very rough; lateral-line scales 32-42.

Uniform bright red, fins paler.

Size: grows to 15 cm.

Habitat: a seldom seen fish that hides in caves and crevices during the day.

Depth: 2-238 m.

Bermuda to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 15
Depth Range Min
  • 2
Depth Range Max
  • 238