Empire gudgeon

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Hypseleotris compressa

Grows to a maximum size of 10 cm commonly around 3.5 cm. Females are brownish to golden overall and silvery below with clear to dusky fins. The males are spectacularly coloured especially during breeding season with vibrant reddish-orange on the head and fins, sometimes the whole body. Forms massive migrating schools in response to summer wet season flows initially downstream toward brackish breeding areas and subsequently returning upstream. Although known to be able to reproduce in freshwater may have estuarine larval phase due to passive dispersal downstream with wet season flood flows and may in fact be facultatively amphidromous. Very important prey species underpinning floodplain productivity. Distributed throughout the Black River basin, Ross River basin and Haughton River basin. Known to also occur in Saltwater Creek and expected to occur in all other creeks of the Don River basin. Recorded in the Lower Burdekin catchment and Bowen River.


Much of the information about fish species and their distribution in the Burdekin Dry Tropics region presented throughout this Wiki is based on the work of Pusey (2005). The Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research (ACTFR) also provided access to their Northern Australian Fish (NAF) database (in press), which contains the most current available fish survey data for tropical Australia. Allan Webb also from ACTFR provided information of the expanding list of exotic fish species recorded from the immediate Townsville region principally the Ross River. Additional information about species distribution is the authors experience (principally Jim Tait) and knowledge of the region. Descriptions of species are based on Allen et. al. (2002) and Pusey et. al (2004) with additional detail and comments by the authors of the Fish Passage Study.

Fish illustrations and mapping by Jason Carter. Illustrations have been drawn from specimens and photographs and after other illustrations, in particular Swainston and Ruse (in Allen 1997) and Pusey (in Pusey et. al. 2004)


  • Australian Centre for Tropical Freshwater Research (in press) Northern Australia Fish (NAF) database.
  • Pusey, B. Kennard, M Arthington, A (2004) Freshwater Fishes of North-eastern Australia,CSIRO Publishing. (Available from http://www.publish.csiro.au/pid/3922.htm)

External Links

Empire gudgeon © NQ Dry Tropics
Empire gudgeon © NQ Dry Tropics
Empire gudgeon distribution
Empire gudgeon distribution

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