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Native Fish: Common Galaxias or Jollytail (Galaxias maculatus), Thurra River, Victoria

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Published on Feb 2, 2014

Common galaxias (Galaxias maculatus) are the most widely distributed of all the Galaxias. In Australia they range from the coastal streams of southern Queensland around the south coast to Albany in Western Australia. They also found in New Zealand, the Chatham Islands, Chile, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina and the Falkland Islands.

Adult Common Jollytails move downstream in autumn to breed in the river estuaries where their eggs are left stranded amongst vegetation by the spring tides. The eggs hatch when the spring tides return and the larvae are carried out to sea. The fry spend the winter at sea, returning to the coastline as small fish ~50mm long in the spring. At this stage they are commonly referred to as Whitebait and can often be seen moving upstream in loose balls of many individuals. During the whitebait stage they are almost transparent, but soon after entering freshwater they begin to develop pigmentation.

These fish were stranded in pools left by the spring tides in the lower reaches of the Thurra River in Croajingolong National Park, Victoria, Australia. The pools should have been big enough to see them through to the next spring tides or heavy rainfall event, but in the meantime as the pools get shallower, they are at the mercy of egrets, herons and Long-finned Eels. Some fish were appeared to be affected by white fungal growths and intestinal parasites.

This little fish even has a Melbourne Restaurant named after it, although I'm not sure if whitebait is on the menu!

To view my photograph of a young transparent Galaxias also known as a Whitebait see:

http://www.pbase.com/saratoga/image/1...

For more information on Common Galaxias see:
http://www.fishesofaustralia.net.au/h...

CAAB Taxon code: 37102006

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