Empire Gudgeon, Hypseleotris compressa (Krefft 1864)


Other Names: Carp Gudgeon, Empire Fish, Northern Carp-gudgeon

A male Empire Gudgeon, Hypseleotris compressa. Source: Dave Wilson. License: All rights reserved

Summary:
Body with irregular blotches or saddles on the back and about 7-8 brown vertical bars forming X-shaped marks along the midsides; two black stripes on dorsal fins, rear of second dorsal with round white spots surrounded by black; a distinct dark mark near the rear of the second dorsal fin. 
Males develop a hump on the head, and usually become intensely coloured during the breeding season with brownish, bright orange red, black or pearly white bands on the fins.

Video of Empire Gudgeons - males in breeding coloration vying for the attention of females.
Video of Empire Gudgeons spawning in an aquarium.
Video of male Empire Gudgeons

Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018, Hypseleotris compressa in Fishes of Australia, accessed 20 Nov 2018, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4145

Empire Gudgeon, Hypseleotris compressa (Krefft 1864)

More Info


Distribution

Widespread, mostly in the northern half of Australia. Recorded from Carnarvon, Western Australia, to the Genoa River, Victoria; also at Muralag Island and Horn Island, in the Torres Strait. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Guinea.
Although found in the lower reaches of rivers and streams, the Empire Gudgeon also occurs further upstream. It prefers flowing waters, often in areas with aquatic vegetation and woody debris. Juveniles frequently occur in swift-flowing waters or estuaries. The species is tolerant of high salinities, water temperatures up to 35ºC and somewhat acidic to alkaline waters pH 5.0-9.1.

Features

Dorsal fin VI + I, 9-10; Anal fin I, 9-11; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 15; Pectoral fin 14-17; Pelvic fin I, 5; Transverse scales 9-10; Gill rakers 3-4 + 1 + 9-11 = 13-16; Vertebrae 14-15 + 10-12 = 24-26.
Head and body distinctly compressed, body relatively deep, depth at pelvic fin origin 4.2-5.9 in SL. Adult males with prominent forehead hump from above upper end of opercular margin to snout. Mouth small, very oblique, reaching to about middle of eye; both jaws with small teeth in several rows; tongue tip truncate. Gill opening moderately broad, reaching forward to below posterior end of preoperculum. Head pores absent, except for two pores connected by short tube above dorsoposterior margin of eye and 2-5 preopercular pores. Cheek sensory papillae normally in longitudinal rows, with few vertical rows.
Body scales large and ctenoid, lateral line absent; longitudinal series 25-29; ctenoid scales between first dorsal fin base and upper attachment of opercular membrane; scales often cycloid on belly and nape; predorsal scales forward to above middle of eye, 14-18 on dorsal midline; cheek with 4-6  rows of small embedded cycloid scales’ operculum covered with medium-sized cycloid scales.
Two dorsal fins; males usually with more elongate posterior second dorsal and anal fin rays, a higher first dorsal fin, and dorsal fins closer together. Pelvic fins separate, short. Pectoral base narrow, rays developed ventrally; free fold of skin extending to upper attachment of opercular membrane above uppermost ray.

Size

To around 12 cm SL, males slightly larger than females.

Colour

Sides of body often with about 7-8 brown vertical bars, forming X-shaped marks on midside; base of caudal fin with vertically elongate dark brown spot just below midside; distinct dark mark near posterior end of the second dorsal fin. Dorsal fins with 2 black stripes; second dorsal with round white spots posteriorly, surrounded by black.

Feeding

Feeds on small crustaceans, small aquatic insects and insect larvae, some algae and forages amongst detritus, leaf litter and aquatic vegetation.

Biology

Oviparous benthic spawners. Males establish breeding territories and display bright colours to attract a mate during warmer months. Spawning occurs every 2-7 days over several weeks. Females deposit adhesive eggs (0.26-0.28 mm X 0.30-0.32 mm) onto rocks, sand or weeds where they are guarded and fanned by the male. Larvae hatch at around 1.0 mm TL after 10-14 days and commence swimming at, or soon after hatching. Spawning occurs in freshwaters, and the larvae are carried downstream to estuaries where they develop before migrating back into freshwaters.

Similar Species

Distinguished from other Western Australian Hypseleotris by a combination of characters including the presence of preopercular pores, predorsal scales extending to above the middle of the eyes, ctenoid scales between the first dorsal-fin base and the upper attachment of opercular membrane, and the second dorsal fin modally 1,9.

Species Citation

Eleotris compressus Krefft, 1864, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1864: 184. Type locality: Clarence River, NSW, Clarence River, NSW, creeks near Port Denison (Bowen), Queensland.

Author

Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018

Resources

Australian Faunal Directory

Empire Gudgeon, Hypseleotris compressa (Krefft 1864)

References


Allen, G.R. 1982. Inland Fishes of Western Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 86 pp. 6 figs 20 pls.

Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications 240 pp., 63 pls.

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Hoese, D.F. 1980. A collection of fishes from the Jardine River, Cape York Peninsula, Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 63(2): 53-61 figs 1-2

Auty, E.H. (1978) Reproductive behaviour and early development of the empire fish Hypseleotris compressa. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwater Res. 29: 585-597.

Cashner, R.C., Hawkes, G.P., Gartside, D.F. & Marsh-Matthews, E. 1999. Fishes of the Nymboida, Mann and Orara Rivers of the Clarence River Drainage, New South Wales, Australia. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 121: 89-100

Castelnau, F.L. de 1873. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 5. Notes on fishes from north Australia. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 2: 83-97 (as Eleotris modesta)

De Vis, C.W. 1884. New fishes in the Queensland Museum. No. 4. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 9(3): 685-698 (as Eleotris humilis)

De Vis, C.W. 1884. New fishes in the Queensland Museum. No. 4. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 9(3): 685-698 (as Eleotris cavifrons, junior homonym of Eleotris cavifrons Blyth, 1860).

Ogilby, J.D. 1897. On some Australian Eleotrinae. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 21(4): 725-757 (as Eleotris devisi, nom. nov. for Eleotris cavifrons DeVis, 1884).

Castelnau, F.L. de 1878. Notes on the fishes of the Norman River. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 3(1): 41-51 (as Eleotris simplex)

Hitchcock, G., Finn, M.A., Burrows, D.W.& Johnson, J.W. 2012. Fishes from fresh and brackish waters of islands in Torres Strait, far north Queensland. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 56(1): 14-24.

Hoese, D.F., Larson, H.K. & Llewellyn, L.C. 1980. Family Eleotridae: gudgeons. pp. 169-185 19 figs in McDowall, R.M. (ed.) Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed 208 pp., figs, 32 pls.

Humphries, P. & Walker, K. (eds) 2013. Ecology of Australian Freshwater Fishes. Collingwood, Victoria : CSIRO Publishing 423 pp.

Johnson, J. 1993. Fishes of the Brisbane River. Fishes of Sahul, Journal of the Australian New Guinea Fishes Association 8(1): 347-352

Koehn, J.D. & O'Connor, W.G. 1990. Biological Information for the Management of Native Freshwater Fishes in Victoria. Department of Conservation and Environment, Victoria.

Klunzinger, C.B. 1879. Die v. Müller'sche Sammlung Australischer Fische. Anzeiger der Kaiserlichen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Klasse, Wien 16(22): 254-261 (as Eleotris reticulatus)

Klunzinger, C.B. 1880. Die von Müller'sche Sammlung australischer Fische in Stuttgart. Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften. Wien 80(1): 325–430 pls 1–9 (as Eleotris reticulatus)

Krefft, G. 1864. Notes on Australian freshwater fishes, and descriptions of four new species.Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1864: 182–184.

Lake, J.S. 1971. Freshwater Fishes and Rivers of Australia. Melbourne : Nelson 61 pp.

Lake, J.S. 1978. Australian Freshwater Fishes. Melbourne : Thomas Nelson 160 pp. 140 figs.

Larson, H.K., Williams, R.S. & Hammer, M.P. 2013. An annotated checklist of the fishes of the Northern Territory, Australia. Zootaxa 3696(1): 1-293

Larson, H.K. & Martin, K.C. 1990. Freshwater Fishes of the Northern Territory. Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences Handbook Series Number 1. Darwin : Northern Territory Museum of Arts and Sciences 102 pp. 73 figs.

Leggett, R. & Merrick, J.R. 1987. Australian Native Fishes for Aquariums. Artarmon : J.R. Merrick Publications 241 pp. 142 figs.

Macleay, W.J. 1878. The fishes of Port Darwin. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 2(4): 344-367 pls 7-10 (as Eleotris compressus, junior homonym of Eleotris compressus Krefft, 1864)

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 Eleotris elevata, nom. nov. for Eleotris compressus Macleay, 1878).

McGlashan, D.J. & Hughes, J.M. 2001. Low levels of genetic differentiation among populations of the freshwater fish Hypseleotris compressa (Gobiidae: Eleotridinae): implications for its biology, population connectivity and history. Heredity 86: 222-233.

Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management. Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp. figs 280 col. figs.

Morgan, D.L. 2010. Fishes of the King Edward River in the Kimberley region, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 25: 351–368.

Morgan, D.L., Allen, G.R., Pusey, B.J. & Burrows, D.W. 2011. A review of the freshwater fishes of the Kimberley region of Western Australia. Zootaxa 2816: 1-64.

Morgan, D.L. & Gill, H.S. 2004. Fish fauna in inland waters of the Pilbara (Indian Ocean Drainage Division) of Western Australia – evidence for three subprovinces. Zootaxa 636: 1-43.

Ogilby, J.D. 1897. On some Australian Eleotrinae. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 21(4): 725-757 (as Carassiops longiCarassiops compressus)

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

Steindachner, F. 1867. Ichthyologische Notizen (6).1. Über eine Sammlung von Fischen von Cap York in Australien. Sitzungsberichte der Akademie der Wissenschaften in Wien 56(1): 307-320 (as Eleotris brevirostris)

Quick Facts


CAAB Code:37429023

Fishing:Popular aquarium fish

Habitat:Freshwater streams, estuaries

Max Size:12 cm SL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map