Dwarf Galaxias

Dwarf galaxias

The dwarf galaxias is a threatened fish species in Victoria. It is a brilliantly coloured fish during the spawning period in particular and has an elaborate and fascinating spawning behaviour. It occurs only in waters south of the Divide and west of Lakes Entrance and occurs in at least 8 creeks on Mornington Peninsula. Adults reach 40 mm in length and prefer still water, often less than 30 cm deep with abundant aquatic vegetation. Juvenile fish congregate in schools of about 20 fish on the surface of pools.

At spawning time the female only lays a few (10) eggs each day for up to two weeks placing each egg carefully on vegetation. Populations can survive in areas that partially or completely dry up during summer. It appears likely that they can bury themselves beneath rocks or logs as the water recedes and survive until water level rises again. This process is called aestivation.

They can also travel overland between swamps and ponds providing there is a thin layer of moving water at least 2mm deep. This explains why they occur in swamps or isolated ponds, some distance from rivers. Their survival depends on retaining areas of shallow, still water. They are most common in the La Trobe River Basin, Bunyip River Basin and the upper reaches of the Glenelg River Basin.