The Tiger Cardinalfish, Cheilodipterus macrodon is also known as the large-toothed cardinalfish. They are one of the few species of saltwater fish that are mouth brooders. The male in the image above has a mouthful of eggs or juveniles.
The Tiger Cardinalfish has proportionally large eyes with two conspicuous yellow lines across them. They have two dorsal fins. The dorsal and caudal fins are translucent with a brownish tint. The adults have a brownish background with white lines running horizontally across the body. On the head the lines have a yellow tint.There is a prominent white area just ahead of the tail. They grow up to 25 cm in length.
IN THE WILD
During the day the Tiger cardinalfish will usually be found around an over hang or in a cave. The adults are usually solitary and at night can be seen out feeding on the reef. It is rare to see more than one.
The Tiger cardinalfish is found across the Indian ocean and in the west Pacific. They are found between depths of 1-30 meters.
The Tiger cardinalfish are nocturnal feeders , feeding mainly on zooplankton and small benthic organisms.
During breeding pairs are formed and after performing a mating dance, the eggs are laid by the female and fertilized by the male. The male then collects the fertilized eggs and carries the eggs in his mouth until they hatch. During this time the male cannot feed. Towards the end of the incubation period the males become quite skinny making the protruding mouth more noticeable. This can result in cannibalism with the male eating some of the eggs.
Tiger cardinals are not commonly kept in aquariums, because they are nocturnal and predatory this precludes the Tiger Cardinalfish from most aquariums.
TIGER CARDINALFISH CLASSIFICATION
- The Reef Guide fishes, corals, nudibranchs & other invertebrates: East and South Coasts of Southern Africa by Dennis King & Valda Fraser