The Action Plan for Australian freshwater fishes
Species recovery outline: Honey Blue-eye
Scientific name: Pseudomugil mellis
English name: Honey Blue-eye
Species taxonomic status: Formally described by Allen and Ivantsoff, 1982. Formerly considered to be a distinct colour variety of the Pacific blue-eye (P. signifer).
Species survival status: Range severely reduced in recent times.
- Action plan status: Vulnerable.
- Australian Society for Fish Biology status: Vulnerable.
- Proposed new IUCN criteria status: Vulnerable (habitat alteration).
Former distribution: On the Queensland mainland Honey Blue-eye was probably common from the Noosa River drainage, including streams flowing into Tin Can Bay, south to perhaps the Queensland New South Wales Border.
Current distribution: Occurs in many lakes and creeks on Fraser Island and in a few creeks on the mainland between Caboolture and Tin Can Bay. Does not occur on Moreton Island or North Stradbroke Island. This species remains relatively abundant in the Noosa River and Fraser Island localities.
Habitat: Usually found amongst or near emergent vegetation in streams and lakes associated with wallum swamps. Typically the water in these areas is organically stained, highly coloured, soft and has a pH below 6.5–7.0.
9. Reasons for decline:
- The distribution of Honey Blue-eye coincides with the region of greatest urbanisation and highest population growth in Queensland. Habitat has been destroyed due to residential development, forestry operations, agriculture and mining.
- Introduced gambusia (Gambusia holbrooki) occurs in several localities supporting Honey Blue-eyes. Gambusia dominates communities where habitat is modified.
- Collection for the aquarium trade has depleted at least one population (Beerburrum Creek) in the past. Collection by individuals for private collections may threaten some populations.
Conservation reserves on which species occurs:
- Mellum Creek Scientific Reserve, Queensland Forest Service, Queensland Department of Primary Industries.
- Cooloola National Park, (Qld).
- Fraser Island National Park, (Qld).
Other public lands on which species occurs: None
Other land on which species occurs:
- Private land in Tin Can Bay.
Is knowledge about species adequate for objectives and actions to be defined accurately? (If not provide list of additional studies required): No.
- Need to determine precise distribution and status of populations on mainland and Fraser Island.
- Need to determine habitat requirements and environmental tolerances.
- Need to assess the interaction with gambusia.
- Need to assess genetic diversity of disjunct populations.
- Identify the current status of populations within the known range.
- Investigate other sites that may contain populations (eg Bribie Island, Moreton Island, North Stradbroke Island, northern New South Wales)
- Maintain current distribution and maximum genetic diversity.
- Determine the extent of the distribution and impact of gambusia.
- Develop management plan for conservation of wallum waterbodies and associated communities on mainland and dune islands.
Management actions already initiated:
- Several small captive populations maintained by members of the Australia New Guinea Fishes Association.
- Review of the distribution of Honey Blue-eyes, community structure of wallum stream fish communities, and basic biology underway (Centre for Catchment and In-stream Research).
Management actions required:
- Declaration of additional conservation reserves: No.
- Habitat management: Yes.
- Maintain existing habitat in pristine condition.
- Feral animal control: Yes.
- Eradication of gambusia from conservation reserves.
- Translocation or re-establishment of populations: No.
- Captive breeding: No.
- Other: No.
Organisations responsible for conservation of species:
- Queensland Department of PrimaryIndustries.
- Department of Environment and Heritage.
Other organisations or individuals involved:
- Centre for Catchment and In-stream Research, Griffith University.
- Australia New Guinea Fishes Association Queensland Inc.
Can recovery plan be carried out with existing resources?: No.
- Continue funding for survey to evaluate distribution and abundance. Require one biologist and one technician for two years – $147 000, with operating funds of $35 000 per year.
- Annual monitoring for Honey Blue-eye and Oxleyan Pygmy Perch will require one biologist and one technician for one week – $1 410, plus car hire and camping allowance – $600.
The cost of annual monitoring for this species will be $1 000.
Total: $217 000
Annual monitoring: $1 000
- Oxleyan Pygmy Perch (Nannoperca oxleyana) also occurs in the following parks:
- Cooloola National Park;
- Fraser Island National Park;
- Mellum Creek Scientific Reserve.
- The Queensland Department of Primary Industries will investigate the value of having this species listed under the Nature Conservation Act 1992. Consultation will occur with the Centre for Catchment and In-stream Research in the development of a management plan.