The ring-tailed cardinal is a small, yellow-copper fish with a large eye outlined by two vivid blue stripes which cross its face horizontally. It has a dark band around its peduncle.
They form small schools near to coral and rock outcrops, often sharing dark hiding spots.
When courtship occurs, ring-tail cardinals form pairs. They are mouthbrooders, with the male carrying the fertilized eggs in its mouth until they hatch.
Although small, they are proficient predators, using caves to hide during the day and hunting under the cover of darkness.
Ring-tail cardinals are a widespread species, ranging from South Africa and the East African coast to Japan and Australia.