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Astronotus ocellatus

Can grow to 45 cm but commonly 20-28 cm. Recognised by their blunt head and large mouth. Inhabit floodplains and swamps of slow moving rivers; usually found among woody debris. Eggs are attached to cleaned flat rock, on woody debris or in a shallow pit excavated in gravel. Both parents guard the eggs and larvae. Are known to change colour during aggressive interactions. Exotic species known to occur in the Ross River.

Traditional Owners Use

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Much of the information about fish species and their distribution in the Dry Tropics Catchments 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 Norther 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/)

External Links

Oscar Dry Tropics distribution

This is a legacy website. Content is not being updated but is kept as an archive.
Updated NRM information is now held in the NQ Dry Tropics NRM Information Portal at http://nrm.nqdrytropics.com.au/.
while corporate information about NQ Dry Tropics is held on our main website at http://www.nqdrytropics.com.au
NQ Dry Tropics Website