Barred Galaxias, Galaxias fuscus Mack 1936

Other Names: Brown Galaxias, Brown Minnow

A Barred Galaxias, Galaxias fuscus. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A bright yellowish-orange to brownish galaxias with up to 10 broad dark bars along the sides, usually towards front of body. This non-migratory species occurs only in cool mountain streams of the Goulburn River catchment in Central Victoria. 
Barred Galaxias in the headwaters of the Goulburn River, Victoria.
Barred Galaxias in the Goulburn River catchment.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2017, Galaxias fuscus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 May 2019,

Barred Galaxias, Galaxias fuscus Mack 1936

More Info


Endemic to the upper headwaters of the Goulburn River system of Central Victoria. The species is restricted to 12 geographically isolated headwater streams above an elevation of 400 m.

Barred Galaxias inhabit small, shallow streams in altitudes of 400 to about 1200 metres. They occur in clear, cool (less than 15ºC during summer months), flowing water with boulder, pebble, gravel or sandy substrates - usually preferring slow-flowing deep pools near faster-flowing water. 


Dorsal fin 12; Anal fin 12; Pectoral fin 12-16.

Body elongate, cylindrical; head short and bulbous, caudal peduncle thick; jaw teeth conical, arranged in a single row.
Scales absent; lateral line a series of pores in shallow mid-lateral groove.

Caudal fin truncate to weakly forked; anal fin originates behind the middle of the dorsal fin; fin spines absent; ventral fins abdominal.


Maximum size 16cm TL, commonly 7-9 cm TL.


Yellow-orange to brownish overall with 1-10 complete or partial dark vertical ovoid blotches usually towards front of body.


Feeds mostly on aquatic insects, but also on molluscs, worms, and takes terrestrial insects from the water surface.


Spawning occurs mid-August to late September in cool moderately-flowing freshwater streams immediately upstream of pools. The eggs are aters (range 8.4 – 10 °C, mean 9.1°C) immediately upstream of pools.

Multi-layered clusters of up to 218 eggs were generally adhered close to the stream bed on the downstream side of cobbles greater than 180 mm diameter.Spawns from late winter to early spring. Females release up to 600 eggs onto cobbles, rocks and woody debris close to the stream bed.

Eggs are large, around 2.2 mm diameter, demersal and adhesive.



  • EPBC Act 1999 : Endangered
  • IUCN Red List : Critically Endangered
  • Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 : Threatened
  • Remarks

    This species is non-migratory and the entire lifecycle is completed within their home stream. Movement between the remaining populations of G. fuscus is restricted by the presence of predatory trout.

    Similar Species

    Differs from Galaxias olidus in being overall bright orange-yellow in colour, with up to 10 wide black vertical bars on sides. they also have a more bulbous, a thicker caudal peduncle and lack the mottled pattern of G. olidus.


    Galaxias comes from the Greek meaning Milky Way and fuscus from the Latin meaning brown.

    Species Citation

    Galaxias fuscus Mack, 1936, Mem. Natl. Mus. Vict. 9: 98-101. Type locality: Rubicon River, VIC.


    Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2017


    Barred Galaxias, Galaxias fuscus Mack 1936


    Allen, G.R., H. Midgley & M. Allen. 2002. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia. I-xiv + 1-394.

    Ayres, R.M., Nicol, M.D. & Raadik, T.A. 2012. Establishing new populations for fire-affected Barred Galaxias (Galaxias fuscus): site selection, trial translocation and population genetics. Black Saturday Victoria 2009 – Natural values fire recovery program. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Heidelberg, Victoria.

    Cadwallader, P.L. & Backhouse G.N. 1983. Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Victoria. Victorian Government Printing Office, Melbourne.

    Koehn, J. & Raadik, T. 1995. Flora and Fauna Guarantee, barred galaxias Galaxias olidus var. fuscus. Action Statement No. 65. (Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: Melbourne).

    Kuiter, R.H. 2003. More on Galaxias fuscus. Fishes of Sahul 17(3 & 4): 976-977.

    Lintermans, M. 2007. Fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin : an introductory guide. Canberra : Murray-Darling Basin Commission, 157 pp.

    Mack, G. 1936. Victorian species of the genus Galaxias with descriptions of two new species. Mem. Natl. Mus. Vict. 9: 98-101. 

    Miller, A.D., van Rooyen, A., Ayres, R.M., Raadik, T.A., Fairbrother, P. & Weeks, A.R. 2012, The development of 24 polymorphic microsatellite loci for the endangered barred galaxias, Galaxias fuscus, through next generation DNA sequencing, Conservation genetics resources 4(3): 613-616, doi: 10.1007/s12686-012-9605-x. 

    Raadik, T.A. 1993. A research recovery plan for the barred galaxias, Galaxias fuscus Mack, in southeastern Australia. Department of Conservation and Natural Resources: Melbourne.

    Raadik, T.A. 2002. Barred Galaxias recovery project 13695 – final report, Endangered Species Program. Report to Environment Australia, Canberra. Freshwater Ecology, Arthur Rylah Institute, Victoria. 

    Raadik, T.A. 2006. Barred Galaxias - a slow recovery and costly endpoint. Australian Society for Fish Biology, Newsletter 36(1): 69-71.

    Raadik, T.A. 2014. Fifteen from one: a revision of the Galaxias olidus Günther, 1866 complex (Teleostei, Galaxiidae) in south-eastern Australia recognises three previously described taxa and describes 12 new species. Zootaxa 3898 (1), 1-198.

    Raadik, T.A., Fairbrother, P.S. & Smith, S.J. 2010. National Recovery Plan for the Barred Galaxias Galaxias fuscus. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne. PDF

    Raadik, T.A., Saddlier, S.R. & Koehn, J.D. 1996. Threatened fishes of the world: Galaxias fuscus Mack, 1936 (Galaxiidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 47: 108.

    Saddlier, S.R. & Raadik, T.A. 1995. Barred Galaxias Recovery Plan. Protection of the Barred Galaxias, Galaxias fuscus, from trout by building weirs downstream of remaining populations. 1995 Annual Report to the Endangered Species Unit, Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra. 

    Shirley, M.J. & Raadik T.A. 1997. Apects of the ecology and breeding biology of Galaxias fuscus Mack, in the Goulburn River system, Victoria. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 109(2): 157-166.

    Stoessel, D.J., Raadik, T.A. & Ayres, R.M. 2015. Spawning of threatened barred galaxias, Galaxias fuscus (Teleostei: Galaxiidae). Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 137: 1–6.

    Wager, R. 1996. Galaxias fuscus. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. . Downloaded on 19 November 2012.

    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37102023

    Conservation:EPBC Act Endangered; VIC Threatened

    Conservation:IUCN Critically Endangered


    Max Size:16 cm TL


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