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Hypseleotris klunzingeri (Family Eleotridae)

Western Carp Gudgeon


The Western Carp Gudgeon occurs along the east coast from Newcastle to north of Rockhampton, throughout the Murray-Darling Basin, Bulloo River and Cooper Creek (Lake Eyre Basin) (SA, VIC, NSW, QLD).


The Western Carp Gudgeon is a small, elongate, cylindrical fish that grows to around 60 mm. The genus Hypseleotris is not always easily recognised relative to other fish genera. Most are small, elongated and moderately stocky as adults. Males have a greyish body with some red with white edging on their fins, which intensifies during breeding season. Females and juveniles look similar to males except they have transparent fins. They have a small mouth. Several Hypseleotris species have a distinctive dark pattern associated with the margins of the scales along their midline. Gudgeons can often be identified relative to other fishes by their elongated cylindrical shape. Several Hypseleotris species can be found together and they are all difficult to distinguish from one another.

Ecology/Way of Life:

Western Carp Gudgeon prefer smaller flowing creeks, the margins of larger rivers, and to a lesser extent, billabongs. They typically inhabit areas with cover, such as snags, fringing terrestrial vegetation and aquatic vegetation. They spawn during spring at temperatures over 20°C. They lay up to 2000 eggs within a few centimetres of the water surface on a hard structure, usually wood. Males guard the eggs, which are about 0.5 mm and hatch in 50 hours. Larvae are around 2 mm. Maturity is usually reached within one year at around 30 mm. Western Carp Gudgeon eat small invertebrates and insect larvae.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

This smaller species is probably an important forage item for larger native fish. Western Carp Gudgeon are rarely found in the aquarium trade. They make excellent aquarium specimens and are challenging to breed and raise in captivity. They are peaceful and will eat most non-processed foods. They have no conservation status listing due to their widespread occurrence. They are undoubtedly impacted by the introduction of exotic fishes such as Gambusia holbrooki (Damnbusia) and Perca fluviatilis (Redfin Perch) that prey upon and compete with Western Carp Gudgeon.

Other Comments:

Hypseleotris klunzingeri was named by Ogilby in 1898. The species name klunzingeri is after the ichthyologist Carl Klunzinger.

Further Reading:

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

Merrick, J. R. & Schmida, G. E. (1984). Australian Freshwater Fishes: Biology and Management. Griffith Press Ltd. 409pp.

Unmack, P. J. (2003). Australian Desert Fishes.

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


Text: Peter J. Unmack & Rob Wager. Distribution map: Peter J. Unmack. Photographer: Neil Armstrong.

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