Eastern Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia splendida splendida (Peters 1866)


Other Names: East Queensland Rainbow Fish, Eastern Rainbow Fish, Northern Sunfish, Splendid Rainbowfish

Eastern Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia splendida. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter/Aquatic Photographics. License: all rights reserved

Summary:

One of three subspecies in the Melanotaenia splendida complex. 

The species varies greatly in colour. Males are generally pale bluish-green, greenish-brown to yellowish (paler below), with narrow orange to reddish stripes along the scale rows, and a distinct midlateral stripe that may be blackish to yellowish anteriorly, becoming bluish-green or brownish-green on the tail base. A yellow or orange spot is usually present on the gill cover, and the dorsal, anal and caudal fins have bright reddish, yellowish and orange patterns.

Females and juveniles are silvery with translucent or faintly pigmented fins.


Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray, Melanotaenia splendida splendida in Fishes of Australia, accessed 16 Oct 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3046

Eastern Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia splendida splendida (Peters 1866)

More Info


Distribution

Endemic to tropical rivers east of the Great Dividing Range from the Torres Strait islands and Cape York Peninsula, south to the upper reaches of the Dawson River, QLD. 

Although Eastern Rainbowfish usually occur near the surface of deeper pools in small freshwater streams, they also inhabit lakes and reservoirs. Individuals often occur in large schools in clear to turbid waters with or without vegetative cover.

Features

Dorsal fin V-VII; I, 9-13; Anal fin I, 17-22; Pectoral fin 11-16.

Head and body: Body moderately elongate and laterally compressed, greatest body depth (adults >50 mm SL): males 29.0-40.3, females 26.9-35.2 in SL; head length 24.4-30.5 in SL; snout length 7.3-10.8 in SL; mouth oblique, reaching back almost to anterior margin of eye; eye diameter 7.2-10.8; interorbital width 8.8-10.5; caudal peduncle depth 10.6-13.2; jaw teeth conical, vomer with a solid band of well-developed teeth; teeth present on palatines; lateral line absent.

Scales cycloid to slightly crenulate with well-developed radii ;large, horizontal scale rows 10 to 12; vertical scale rows 33 to 36; predorsal scales 14 to 18.

Two separate dorsal fins, 1st originating about over the origin of the anal fin; posterior margin of 2nd dorsal and anal fin elongated and pointed in males; anal fin long based; pectoral fins slightly pointed; caudal fin moderately forked, lobes mildly pointed. Males have a longer 1st dorsal fin and the 2nd dorsal and anal have more pointed posterior profiles.

Size

To around 14 cm SL, commonly to 8 cm or less.

Colour

Highly variable in colour. Males are overall pale bluish-green, greenish-brown to yellowish, paler below, with horizontal scale rows separated by a narrow orange to reddish stripe, and a distinct midlateral stripe that may be blackish to yellowish anteriorly, becoming bluish-green or brownish-green on the tail base. A yellow or orange spot is usually present on the gill cover, and the dorsal, anal and caudal fins have bright reddish, yellowish and orange patterns.


Females and juveniles are silvery bodies with translucent or faintly pigmented fins.

Feeding

Omnivore - feeds on filamentous algae, aquatic and terrestrial insects, micro-crustaceans and other small invertebrates.

Biology

The sexes are separate, and reproduction occurs throughout the year. Oviparous pair spawners, 60-70 eggs per spawning are deposited into aquatic vegetation. Eggs spherical, golden coloured with adhesive filaments. Larvae hatch at around 4mm TL after around 6-7 days and are well developed with a reduced yolk sac and fully formed mouth and pectoral fins. Feeding commences within 24 hours of hatching.

Remarks


Species Citation

Nematocentris splendida Peters 1867, Mber. K. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berl. 1866: 516. Type locality: Rockhampton, Queensland.

Author

Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray

Resources


Eastern Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia splendida splendida (Peters 1866)

References


Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications, 240 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Cross, N.J. 1982. Rainbowfishes of Australia and Papua-New Guinea. New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications 142 pp.

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Badger A.C. 2004. The effects of nutrition on reproduction in the Eastern Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia splendida splendida. MSc. thesis, James Cook University.

Beumer, J.P. 1979. Reproductive cycles of two Australian freshwater fishes: the spangled perch, Therapon unicolor Gunther, 1859 and the East Queensland rainbowfish, Nematocentris splendida Peters, 1866. Journal of Fish Biology 15: 111-134.

Bishop, K.A., S.A. Allen, D.A. Pollard & M.G. Cook. 1981. Ecological studies on the freshwater fishes of the Alligator Rivers region, Northern Territory. Autecological Studies, Research Report 4, Vol. 111. Office of the Supervising Scientist for the Alligator Rivers Region. Canberra.

Castelnau, F.L. de 1878. On some new Australian (chiefly) freshwater fishes. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 3(2): 140-144. (as Aristeus fitzroyensis)

Humphrey, C, D.W. Klumpp & R. Pearson. 2003. Early development and growth of the eastern rainbowfish, Melanotaenia splendida splendida (Peters). I. Morphogenesis and ontogeny. Mar. Freshwat. Res. 54:17-25.

Humphrey, C, D.W. Klumpp & R. Pearson. 2003. Early development and growth of the eastern rainbowfish, Melanotaenia splendida splendida (Peters). II. Otolith development, increment validation and larval growth. Marine and Freshwater Research 54(2): 105-111.

Kner, R. & Steindachner, F. 1867. Über neue Fische aus dem Museum der Herren Johann Caesar Godeffroy und Sohn in Hamburg. Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse 54(1)(1): 356-395 4 pls (as Strabo nigrofasciatus)

Leggett, R. & Merrick, J.R. 1987. Australian Native Fishes for Aquariums. Artarmon : J.R. Merrick Publications 241 pp.

Lintermans, M. 2007. Fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin - An Introductory Guide. Canberra : Murray-Darling Basin Commission 157 pp. [MDBC Publication Number 10/07]

Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 2. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 5(4): 510-629 pls 13-14 (as Aristeus rufescens)

Martin, K.C. & Barclay, S. 2013. New distribution records for the Cairns rainbowfish Cairnsichthys rhombosomoides (Melanotaeniidae): implications for conservation of a restricted northern population. aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology 19(3): 155-164.

McGuigan K., Zhu, D., Allen, G.R. & Moritz, C. 2000. Phylogenetic relationships and historical biogeography of melanotaeniid fishes in Australia and New Guinea. Marine and Freshwater Research 51: 713-723.

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management. Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp.

Peters, W.C.H. 1867. Mittheilung über Fische. Mber. K. Preuss. Akad. Wiss. Berl. 1866: 509–526 figs 1–4

Pusey, B.J., A.H. Arthington, J.R. Bird & P.G. Close. 2001. Reproduction in three species of rainbowfish (Melanotaeniidae) from rainforest streams in northern Queensland, Australia. Ecol. Freshwat. Fish 10: 75-87.

Pusey, B.J., A.H. Arthington & M.G. Read. 1998. Freshwater fishes of the Burdekin River, Australia: biogeography, history and spatial variation in community structure. Environ. Biol. Fish. 53(3): 303-318.

Pusey, B.J., M.G. Read & A.H. Arthington. 1995. The feeding ecology of freshwater fishes in two rivers of the Australian wet tropics. Environmental Biology of Fishes 43(1): 85-103.

Pusey, B.J., Kennard, M.J. & Arthington, A.H. 2004. Freshwater Fishes of North-eastern Australia. Collingwood, Victoria : CSIRO Publishing 684 pp.

Starrs, D., Ebner, B.C., Eggins, S.M. & Fulton, C.J. 2013. Longevity in maternal transmission of isotopic marks in a tropical freshwater rainbowfish and the implications for offspring morphology. Marine and Freshwater Research http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/MF13150 

Williams, M.D. & Williams, W.D. 1991. Salinity tolerances of four species of fish from the Murray-Darling River system. Hydrobiologia 210(1-2): 145-150.

Zhu, D., B.G.M. Jamieson, A. Hugall & C. Moritz. 1994. Sequence evolution and phylogenetic signal in control-region and Cytochrome b sequences of rainbow fishes (Melanotaeniidae). Molecular Biology and Evolution 11(4): 672-683.

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37245014

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Freshwater streams

Max Size:14 cm SL

Native:Endemic

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