How long do they live? Telescope cardinal fish (or Black cardinal fish) are slow-growing and can live to be over 100 years old[1].

Where are they found? This is a deep-water fish and can live almost 4,000 feet in the temperate oceans of the world [2].

What do they eat? They eat small fish and invertebrates [3].

What do they look like? They do not get giant like other fish in this section, actually they only grow to be around 22 inches in length. They have large eyes and look perpetually shocked (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Drawing by Dr. Tony Ayling
Figure 2. Epigonus telescopus

How do they reproduce? I was not able to track down reproductive maturity ages for these long-lived fish, but they do reproduce  through spawning [3].

How do scientists know how old they are? Through measurements based on otolith growth rings [2]. If you’d like to know more about this method, click here for a more in-depth explanation of using otoliths for age estimations. Lead–radium and bomb radiocarbon dating confirmed the long lifespan of this fish [4].

So what are we lacking? There’s no information regarding the nuclear genome of Epigonus telescopus on NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information). From what I can find, there’s very little information about the reproductive biology of these fish.

Conservation status: Vulnerable. If you ever want to check up on the conservation status of a species, check out the IUCN Red List.

Please contact me if you have information regarding any of the species on this website.

  1. Cailliet, G. M., et al. “Age determination and validation studies of marine fishes: do deep-dwellers live longer?.” Experimental gerontology 36.4 (2001): 739-764.
  2. Vieira, Ana Rita, et al. “Age and growth of two deep-water fish species in the Azores Archipelago: Mora moro (Risso, 1810) and Epigonus telescopus (Risso, 1810).” Deep Sea Research Part II: Topical Studies in Oceanography98 (2013): 148-159.
  3. Fish base:
  4. Tracey, Dianne M., et al. “Another New Zealand centenarian: age validation of black cardinalfish (Epigonus telescopus) using lead–radium and bomb radiocarbon dating.” Marine and Freshwater Research (2016).