Pacific Shortfinned Eel

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Aquilla obscura

A snake-like fish that grows up to 110 cm but is more common to 60 cm. Uniform colour above, silver or yellowish to dark brown and paler underneath. Marine dependent. Rarely recorded and patchily distributed in region. Present in the Burdekin River (below Burdekin Falls Dam and historically in the Upper Burdekin catchment before construction of the Burdekin Falls Dam) and Alva Creek of the Haughton River basin. Expected to occur also in the Bowen River, Ross River and Haughton River basins and Upstart Bay Catchments.


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 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

External Links

Pacific shortfinned eel Burdekin Region distribution

Burdekin Region distribution

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