Fish

Fish recorded in the Sanctuary and surrounding areas

The process of reintroducing native fish to the Sancutary has already begun with the creation of a large pond for the endangered Dwarf Galaxia. The first Galaxia placed in the pond came from a successful breeding program. The endangered Galaxia are now thriving.

Types of fish
GEOTRIIDAE
  • Pouched lamprey, Geotria australis
MORDACIIDAE
  • Short-headed lamprey, Mordacia mordax
ANGUILLIDAE (Eels)
  • Short-finned eel, Anguilla australis
GALAXIIDAE (Galaxiids)
  • Broad-finned Galaxias, Galaxias brevipinnis
  • Common Galaxias, G. maculatus
  • Mountain Galaxias, G. olidus
  • Dwarf Galaxias, G. pusilla
  • Spotted Galaxias, G. truttaceus
RETROPINNIDAE (Smelt)
  • Australian Smelt, Retropinna semoni
GADOPSIDAE (River Blackfish)
  • River Blackfish, Gadopsis marmoratus
PROTOTROCTIDAE (Grayling)
  • Australian Grayling, Prototroctes maraena
BOVICJHTHYIDAE
  • Tupong, Pseudaphritis urvilli
KUHLIIDAE (Pigmy Perches)
  • Yarra Pygmy Perch, Edelia obscura
  • Southern Pigmy Perch, Nannoperca australis
ELEOTRIDAE (Gudgeons)
  • Flat-headed Gudgeon, Philypodon gradiceps

Biology of some fishes of the La Trobe Wildlife Sanctuary

Southern Pygmy Perch, Nannoperca australis

  • Description:
    Body colour varies with bright red fins (except the pelvic fins) and dark edges. A red stripe is usually present along their body. Maximum size of 10cm.
  • Distribution:
    Widespread throughout Victoria and common to abundant throughout their range. Also present in SA, NSW and Tasmania.
  • Habitat:
    Prefers weedy, slow flowing or still waters such as lakes, dams, billabongs, small creeks and backwaters of large rivers. More likely to be found where there are few predators.
  • Lifecycle:
    Spawn in response to rising water temperature from late winter to early spring. Eggs are small and transparent and adhere lightly to rocks and vegetation. Females can lay from 400 to 500 eggs.
  • Diet:
    Carnivorous, eating food such as insect larvae.
  • Interesting facts:
    The males have a courtship display that involves rapid side to side movement and vibrations of the body with fins erect. The male also nudges and swims rapidly around and under the female. During courtship the body and fin colours intensify.

Climbing or Broad-finned Galaxias, Galaxias brevipinnis

  • Description:
    Small to medium in size, slender and elongate. Blue/black blotch above the pectoral fin base, and large tubular nostrils. A secretive and solitary species.
  • Distribution:
    Victorian coastal drainage systems, often reaching far inland. Patchy distribution but can be locally common. Also found in NSW, SA, Tasmania, Flinders and King Islands.
  • Habitat:
    Steep, rocky streams and fast-flowing clear water, often in forested catchments. In streams it can be found among large rocks and under logs. In lakes it is fairly evenly distributed in the water column.
  • Lifecycle:
    Spawn from autumn to winter. After hatching, the young fish are washed downstream to the sea. They return in spring as "whitebait" approximately 45-50mm long, and can climb waterfalls and rock faces (if moist) by using their pectoral and pelvic fins. This ability to climb enables them to travel far inland. Longevity is up to 8 years.
  • Diet:
    Aquatic insects on the bottom of streams.

Spotted Galaxias, Galaxias truttaceus

  • Description:
    Numerous round dark spots on the body, each surrounded by a pale halo. The anal and pelvic fins of this species have black margins. The average size is between 120 to 140mm but can reach up to 200mm.
  • Distribution:
    Victorian coastal drainage systems. Patchy distribution but locally abundant. Also present in Tasmania, the Bass Strait Islands and southern Western Australia.
  • Habitat:
    Prefers still gentle waters of rivers, streams and lakes at low elevations. It occurs mainly where there is sufficient cover.
  • Lifecycle:
    Spawning from late autumn to early winter in or near the normal adult habitat. The larvae are washed downstream into the sea and return as "whitebait" in the spring or summer. Once in freshwater, they develop the distinctive pigmentation.
  • Diet:
    Aquatic and terrestrial insects from the water column or surface.

Tupong, Pseudaphritis urvilli

  • Description:
    The colours vary but all have dark blotches along their dorsal surface. Anal fin is pinkish while all others are colourless and spotted. Can reach up to 30cm in length.
  • Distribution:
    Victoria. Also present in New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania.
  • Habitat:
    Slow flowing streams amongst debris and leaf litter, under logs and overhanging banks. Also found in estuaries and rivers.
  • Lifecycle:
    Adults migrate from the upper reaches of coastal rivers down to the estuaries to spawn.
  • Diet:
    Carnivorous species feeding on organisms such as insects, crustaceans, molluscs, worms and fish.

Useful References

Koehn, J.D. & O'Connor, W.G. (1990) Biological Information for Management of Native Fish in Victoria. Department of Conservation & Environment.

McDowell, R.M. (ed) (1996) Freshwater Fishes of South Eastern Australia. A.H. & A.W. Reed Pty Ltd