Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

Adults live mainly in small, clear, flowing streams with gravel or sand bottoms from near sea level to about 1800 m elevation. May be cryptic, living among log debris and boulders, or sometimes found in loose shoals in more open conditions. Also occur in small upland tarns where they may be found shoaling in open water. Tolerant of very cold water, they have been collected from a tarn surrounded by deep snow. Life cycle (maximum life span of about 4 years) is restricted to fresh water. Feed on benthic and drifting invertebrates. Mature individuals breed in spring (sometimes extending to autumn); adults move upstream into shallow riffle areas to lay their demersal, adhesive eggs over rocky bottoms (Ref. 44894).
  • Allen, G.R. 1989 Freshwater fishes of Australia. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey. (Ref. 5259)
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Distribution

Oceania: endemic to Australia: Murray-Darling basin in New South Wales, Queensland; South Australia and Victoria; known only from limital area, alpine and subalpine areas of south-eastern Australia from Condamine River, Queensland (26° 51'S) to Fifth Creek, South Australia (138° 42'E), in systems draining to the coast from the Great Dividing Range as well as those draining into the Murray-Darling drainage.
  • Paxton, J.R., J.E. Gates, D.J. Bray and D.F. Hoese 2006 Galaxiinae. Galaxias, native minnows, native trout. p. 402-411. In P.L. Beesley and A. Wells (eds.). Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35 Part 1. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing, Australia. (Ref. 86962)
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Australia.
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Physical Description

Size

Max. size

15.0 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 5259)); max. reported age: 4 years (Ref. 5259)
  • Allen, G.R. 1989 Freshwater fishes of Australia. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey. (Ref. 5259)
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Maximum size: 120 mm SL
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

benthopelagic; freshwater
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Galaxias olidus

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Threats

Critically Endangered (CR) (A1c+2c, B1+2b)
  • IUCN 2006 2006 IUCN red list of threatened species. www.iucnredlist.org. Downloaded July 2006.
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Wikipedia

Mountain galaxias

The mountain galaxias species complex is a group of freshwater galaxiid fish found all over southeast Australia. They form a cryptic species complex.

Classification[edit]

These fish were originally designated as a single species, Galaxias olidus, despite:

  • occupying a very wide geographic range
  • occupying a range of different habitats, from headwater rivulets at 1,800 m on the flank of Australia's highest mountain (Mount Kosciuszko) to large "midland" rivers and streams (or in other words rivers and streams at the upland/lowland transition, which may be extensive in Australia)
  • displaying a wide range of body forms and colouration

Ongoing research is now revealing them to be a species complex. In recognition of this, the mountain galaxias species complex has been referred to as Galaxias spp., although the designation Galaxias olidus will probably remain with one of the species in the complex. The mountain galaxias species complex also incorporates the barred galaxias (Galaxias fuscus) whose status as a distinct species was debated, but is now confirmed.

Range[edit]

The mountain galaxias species complex occupies a vast geographical range. They are found from southern Queensland to the Adelaide Hills in South Australia, and while occurring widely in the Murray-Darling river system, are also found in eastern and southern coastal systems, as well. It is not clear how much of their coastal distribution is due to natural river capture events (although it is certain much of it is) and how much of it may be due to migration, for many mountain galaxias species have the ability to "climb" natural migration barriers with modified pelvic fin structures.

Within the Murray-Darling system, the mountain galaxias species complex continues the trend of specialisation into upland and lowland habitats, with species found in upland habitats, and the flathead galaxias found in lowland habitats. Though mountain galaxias species stray down to the upland/lowland transition zone in some rivers, mountain galaxias species are largely upland species. Indeed, they are the upland specialists, found in the smallest of streams and at higher altitudes in Australia than any other freshwater fish. Some fascinating microniche partitioning has occurred amongst the galaxiids in upland Murray-Darling habitats, this being one of the causes of the species complex.

Conservation[edit]

The distribution of mountain galaxias species has been massively fragmented by the introduction of brown trout (Salmo trutta) and rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). Mountain galaxias have—with the exception of one remarkable newly discovered species that lives in water too fast for introduced trout—shown a complete inability to live with introduced trout species in upland habitats due to competition and predation, and extremely serious predation on mountain galaxias species by introduced trout has been documented. Countless localised extinctions of mountain galaxias species populations have happened due to introduced trout, and this is continuing to occur with illegal trout stockings.

Many mountain galaxias populations, possibly undescribed species or subspecies, face extinction, and many other populations, also possibly undescribed species or subspecies, have already been permanently lost.

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

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