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Chlamydogobius squamigenus (Family Gobiidae)

Edgbaston Goby

Distribution:

The Edgbaston Goby is mostly found in springs north-east of Aramac in central Queensland (QLD).

Features:

The Edgbaston Goby is a small stocky fish that grows to 60 mm. Adult males can be brightly coloured, especially during the breeding season. They have a brown to yellow body and blue, yellow, white and black fins. Females and juveniles are typically brown with clear fins. They have a surprisingly large mouth for their size. Gobies can be distinguished from most other fishes by their fused pelvic fins. The various Chlamydogobius species are never found together, but are otherwise difficult to distinguish.

Ecology/Way of Life:

Many of the springs inhabited by the Edgbaston Goby are shallow (less than 10 cm) with swampy outflows (less than 0.5 litres per second), and typically have clumps of short dense sedges and grasses. Almost nothing is known of their ecology, however, it is probably similar to the ecology of the Desert Goby and the following comments are based on that species. They will eat just about anything, including algae, small invertebrates, insects and even each other! They typically breed during the warmer months from November through March. Males guard a small territory, usually under a rock or a small hole/cave. They attract females to their territory with bright flashy displays. Females lay up to 200 eggs on the roof of the cave. Males will also breed with additional females while they already have existing eggs in their cave. Males vigorously guard their eggs, which take 10 days to hatch. Offspring mature in 3–6 months. Like other Chlamydogobius species they have the potential to migrate over surprising distances during major flooding as they may be found in new habitats, such as flowing bores, fairly quickly after their formation. Due to the small, shallow nature of their habitat they experience extreme shifts in daily temperature during summer of up to 21°C.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

This species is not commonly kept in aquariums mostly due to the difficulty in obtaining them, as well as their recent discovery. They are formally listed as vulnerable, as their habitat is vulnerable due to the gradual spread of the introduced Gambusia holbrooki (Damnbusia), which preys upon Edgbaston Goby, as well as competing for resources. Cattle and sheep grazing can also be a problem due to trampling of the habitat and animals becoming trapped and dying in springs. While no developments are presently proposed for this area, groundwater removal could be a future threat as it may reduce or dry springs.

Other Comments:

Chlamydogobius squamigenus was decribed by Larson in 1995. The genus name is based on Greek, chlamydo meaning cloaked and gobius meaning gobi. The species name is based on Latin, squama meaning scales and gena meaning cheek.

Further Reading:

Allen, G. R., Midgley, S. H. & Allen, M. (2002). Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Western Australian Museum. Perth. 394pp.

Unmack, P. J. (2003). Australian Desert Fishes. http://www.utexas.edu/tmm/sponsored_sites/dfc/australia/

Wager, R. & Unmack, P. J. (2000). Fishes of the Lake Eyre Catchment of Central Australia. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane. 90pp.

Acknowledgments:

Text: Peter J. Unmack & Rob Wager. Distribution map: Peter J. Unmack. Photographer: Gunther Schmida.

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