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Chlamydogobius gloveri (Family Gobiidae)

Dalhousie Goby

Distribution:

The Dalhousie Goby is found in Dalhousie Springs on the edge of the Simpson Desert in northern South Australia (SA).

Features:

The Dalhousie Goby is a small stocky fish that grows to 40 mm. Adult males are a little more colourful than females, otherwise both sexes look very similar. They have a greyish coloured body. The fins are darker in males with some bluish colouration bounded by a white outer edge. Females have clear fins. This species is less brightly coloured than other Chlamydogobius species. 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:

The Dalhousie Goby inhabits around 28 springs. These range from large warm pools and outflows, with discharges up to 140 litres per second, to small shallow swampy outflows. The Dalhousie Goby can usually be found inhabiting the shallow margins of pools and outflows. Almost nothing is known of their ecology, however, it is probably similar to that of the Desert Goby. They will eat algae, small invertebrates and insects and even each other! They probably breed over the warmer months. Males guard a small territory, usually in a small hole or cave. They attract females to their territory with bright flashy displays. Females may lay up to two hundred eggs on the roof of the cave. Males will also breed with additional females while they already have existing eggs in their cave. Males guard their eggs vigorously for the 10 days they take to hatch. Offspring mature in 3–6 months. Unlike other Chlamydogobius species, they probably do not have the potential to migrate over longer distances during major flooding, as they have not been found in nearby suitable habitat. Like other Chlamydogobius species they have broad physiological tolerances and can withstand temperatures over 40°C.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

This species is not commonly kept in aquariums mostly due to the difficulty in obtaining them and their lack of colour. Their habitat was incorporated into Witjira National Park in 1985. Previously it was part of Mount Dare cattle station. They are formally listed as restricted due to their limited range. The main long term threat is lowering of groundwater pressure and the associated drying of springs. Additional threats could come from the introduction of exotic fishes into the springs such as Gambusia holbrooki (Damnbusia), which may prey upon and compete with Dalhousie Goby. Nearby flowing bores have been capped which should help to prevent groundwater pressure lowering.

Other Comments:

Chlamydogobius gloveri was described by Larson in 1995. The name is based on Greek, chlamydo meaning cloaked, gobius meaning goby and gloveri after John Glover, former curator of fishes at the South Australian Museum.

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. pp. 90.

Zeidler, W. & Ponder, W. F. (1989). Natural History of Dalhousie Springs. South Australian Museum, Adelaide. pp 125.

Acknowledgments:

Text: Peter J. Unmack & Rob Wager. Distribution map: Peter J. Unmack. Photographer: Ross Felix. 1 May 2002.

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