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Pseudaphritis urvillii (Family Bovichtidae)

Congolli, Tupong


Congolli are widespread in coastal rivers in south-eastern Australia from the Clyde River near Batemans Bay, across Victoria west to within the vicinity of Port Lincoln in South Australia as well as all of Tasmania (TAS, VIC, NSW, SA).


Congolli is a medium sized fish that grows to 360 mm. They have an elongate stocky body that is suited for living on the bottom. Their upper body tends to be a tan or brownish colour with a darker midlateral band or series of blotches. The lower body is white or silvery. Their fins are clear. Congolli can be distinguished from most other fishes by their atypical body shape and eyes positioned high on the head.

Ecology/Way of Life:

Congolli are usually most commonly found in lowland waterbodies such as small creeks through larger rivers and estuaries. They are also less commonly found in upland areas, but can occur in headwater streams. They migrate between freshwater and estuarine areas with spawning occurring in the latter. Spawning occurs in autumn and winter in sandy weedy areas under tidal influence. Little else is known of their breeding biology. Congolli are primarily carnivorous and feed on invertebrates and fishes. Congolli are unusual among fishes in that they can survive direct transfer from salt water to freshwater.

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

This species is sometimes captured by anglers but are too small for eating. They are rarely kept in aquaria, although they make good pets as long as they are not kept with smaller fishes. They are not formally listed due to their widespread distribution and abundance.

Other Comments:

Pseudaphritis urvillii was named by Valenciennes in 1832. The genus Pseudaphritis is sometimes placed in its own family, Pseudaphritidae.

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.


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

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