Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Paroncheilus affinis, Bigtooth Cardinalfish

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pale; dark stripe: snout through eye
scales smooth/weakly rough
both jaws: 1 row teeth, + canines
lower jaw strongly projects
A 9

Paroncheilus affinis (Poey, 1875)

Bigtooth Cardinalfish

Body oblong, compressed; head large, snout short; eye large; moderately large oblique mouth that opens at the front; top jaw wide, partly concealed when mouth is closed, scaleless; lower jaw strongly projecting; both jaws with a row of small teeth interspersed with several canines, front of roof of mouth with several short canines, sides of roof of mouth with a band of small teeth; preopercle serrated, lower membranous flap not extending beyond edge of preoperculum; 14 (13-15) lower gill rakers; dorsal fin VI+I, 9; anal fin II, 9; pectoral 12 (rarely 13); inner pelvic ray mostly not attached to body; tail fin usually concave; body scales smooth to weakly rough; scales present on center of nape before dorsal fin; lateral line with ~24 pored scales, the last few on the tail fin; lateral line scales not larger than body scales; lateral line complete, extends onto base of tail fin.

Translucent salmon to bronze; lower head and belly silvery; an indistinct dark stripe from top of mouth through eye to top corner of operculum; tail may have a dark rear edge

Reaches 11 cm.


Depth range: 15-300 m, usually 20-90 m.

E and W Atlantic; the Gulf of Mexico to Suriname.

Note: Mouthbrooding is done by both sexes rather than just males.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom + water column
  • Mid Water
  • Near Bottom
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Water column
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Data
  • Planktivore
  • Data
  • Zooplankton
Egg Type
  • Brooded
  • Data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
Regional Endemism
  • 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
  • 11
Depth Range Min
  • 15
Depth Range Max
  • 300