Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica Cuvier 1830


Other Names: Black Bream, Black Perch, Bream, Gouldburn Bream, Macca, Macquaries, Mountain Perch, Murray Bream, Murray Perch, Silvereye, White Eye Perch, White-eye

Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

Summary:
A black, dark silvery-grey to bluish-grey or greenish-brown fish, often with a bronze or yellowish tinge, with greyish to yellowish pectoral fins, rosy pelvic fins with a blackish margin, and conspicuous open pores on the lower jaw. Fish in the NSW coastal drainages may have darker blotches on the head and body, and juveniles are sometimes mottled. Adults develop a distinct humped back. 
During the 1980s, populations of this iconic species declined dramatically, and Macquarie Perch are now nationally listed as endangered.

Videos:
Macquarie Perch in Victoria: threats, actions and recoveryRe-introduction of Macquarie Perch into the Ovens River 2016Macquarie Perch re-introduction project - Ovens River, Victoria 2015
A Macquarie Perch spawning aggregation in NE VIC.
The Macquarie Perch Recovery Project in the upper Lachlan River, NSW.
Caring for Macquarie Perch in the enlarged Cotter Dam, ACT. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thmopson, V.J. 2018, Macquaria australasica in Fishes of Australia, accessed 13 Nov 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1594

Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica Cuvier 1830

More Info


Distribution

Known only from scattered localities in the cool upper reaches of the Murray-Darling system of New South Wales, including the Hawkesbury-Nepean and Shoalhaven catchments, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. Also found in man-made lakes on the NSW coast.
Macquarie Perch numbers have declined in Victoria, and the species is now restricted to a small number of fragmented populations mostly in cool, rocky, fast flowing streams in relatively undisturbed upland catchments, such as King Parrot Creek in the in the Goulburn Broken Catchment in northern Victoria. A self-sustaining population also exists in the Yarra River from fish translocated in the 1920s. 
Macquarie Perch inhabit cool, clear freshwaters of rivers with deep holes and shallow riffles. They are also found in lakes and reservoirs, where adults aggregate in small shoals during the spawning season. 

Features

Dorsal fin VIII-XII, I, 11-14; Anal fin III, 8-11; Pectoral fin 14-17.
Body deep, greatest depth 2.8-3.6 in SL, oval-elongate and compressed; snout blunt, snout profile concave anterior to arched nape; nuchal hump greatly developed in large fish; eye large, positioned laterally; mouth small, terminal, forming horizontal cleft; gape reaching back to below anterior border of eye; jaws equal; jaws and vomer with bands of villiform teeth; teeth vestigial or absent from palatines; operculum with 2 broad flat serrated spines; preoperculum finely serrated behind, with coarser serrations below; deep mucous cavities conspicuous on snout, around eye, on preoperculum.

Scales mostly ctenoid, of moderate-size; scales present on cheeks and opercula, absent from snout; lateral line follows dorsal profile, continues on to base of caudal fin with 42-60 scales; 9-11 transverse scales above lateral line, 18-22 below.

Single dorsal fin, long-based with a spiny anterior section, 4th and 5th spines longest, separated from soft posterior section by moderate notch; anal fin opposite soft portion of dorsal fin with 3 stout spines, 2nd spine longest; pectoral fins elongate, upper rays longest; ventral fins inserted slightly behind base of pectoral fins, first ray extended into 2 sensory filaments; caudal fin rounded.

Size

To 50 cm and 3.5 kg, commonly 20-25 cm and less than 1.5 kg.

Colour

Almost black or dark silvery-grey, to bluish-grey or greenish-brown above, becoming paler to off-white below, often with a bronze or yellowish tinge. Iris silver. Pectoral fins grey to yellowish. Pelvic fins often rosy with black margins. Other fins generally greyish, often with purplish tinge. Juveniles sometimes mottled on back and sides.
Macquarie Perch in the Murray-Darling Basin vary from being almost black or dark silvery-grey to bluish-grey or greenish-brown above, paler to off-white below, often with a yellowish tinge. 
Individuals in the Shoalhaven and Hawkesbury River systems of New South Wales have greyish-brown, buff and dark grey blotches on the head and body. 

Feeding

Feeds on shrimps and small benthic aquatic insect larvae.

Biology

Males reach sexual maturity after 2 years and females after 3 years. Macquarie Perch spawn in shallow, fast-flowing areas in the lower reaches of in-flowing streams. Spawning occurs from October to December, usually when water temperatures rise above 16 deg C.
Females spawn around 50,000-100,000 eggs in shallow water over boulders, cobbles or gravel. The eggs sink to the bottom or are carried downstream and lodge in gravelly or rocky areas. until the larvae hatch.
The eggs are 1-2 mm diameter, spherical, adhesive and demersal. Larvae hatch after 10-11 days at water temperatures of 15-17 deg C.

Fisheries

Although the Macquarie Perch is a popular and highly regarded angling species, the species is totally protected from capture in New South Wales. However, illegal fishing in New South Wales remains a threat to the species. Strict bag limits and closed seasons and areas apply for recreational fishers in Victoria. 

Conservation

IUCN Red List: Data Deficient 
EPBC Act: Endangered

ACT: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 2014)
NSW: Listed as Endangered (Fisheries Management Act 1994)
VIC: Listed as Threatened (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988)
VIC: Listed as Endangered (Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria: 2013 list)
SA: Listed as Extinct (Action Plan for South Australian Freshwater Fishes 2009 list)

The decline in Macquarie Perch populations over time are the result of a number of factors, including overfishing by recreational fishers, habitat degradation including erosion, increased siltation, removal of woody debris and riparian vegetation, river regulation and the the construction of dams, EHN disease (carried by redfin perch and considered highly infectious to Macquarie perch), and competition with and predation by introduced species such as trout, carp and redfin perch.

Remarks

At least two forms of Macquarie Perch are thought to exist which may be separate species. The Murray-Darling form occurs in the western rivers of the MDB, and the Coastal form occurs in the Shoalhaven and Hawkesbury-Nepean systems. More is known of the Murray-Darling form although both forms are similar in ecology and appearance.

Etymology

The genus is named for the Macquarie River, NSW, the initial collection site of the genus and species. The specific name australasica is from the Latin australis, for southern in reference to its locality on the southern hemisphere.

Macquarie Perch were probably known as Wunnumberu (pronounced ‘Wanambiyu’) by the Dhudhuroa people who lived along the upper Murray River and lower Kiewa and Mitta Mitta rivers.

Species Citation

Macquaria australasica Cuvier, 1830, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 5: 377 Pl. 131. Type locality: Macquarie River, Bathurst, NSW.

Author

Bray, D.J. & Thmopson, V.J. 2018

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica Cuvier 1830

References


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Farrington, L.W., Lintermans, M. & Ebner, B.C. 2009. Characterising genetic diversity in the nationally threatened fish Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica in the upper Murrumbidgee River. Final Report for the Natural Heritage Trust NHT Project No: 18152. 35 pp. 

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Gooley, G.J. & McDonald, G.L. 1988. Preliminary study on the hormone-induced spawning of Macquarie perch, Macquaria australasica (Cuvier) (Percichthyidae), from Lake Dartmouth, Victoria. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series 80: 1-13.

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Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37311088

Conservation:ASFB Endangered; EPBC Act Endangered

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Fishing:Rec fish (VIC only)

Habitat:Freshwater

Max Size:50 cm TL; 3.5 kg

Native:Endemic

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CAAB distribution map