Jungle Perch, Kuhlia rupestris (Lacépède 1802)

Other Names: Buffalo Bream, Mountain Trout, Rock Flagtail

Jungle Perch, Kuhlia rupestris, at Guam, Mariana Islands. Source: David Burdick / http://guamreeflife.com. License: All rights reserved


An olive-brown flagtail with a silvery belly, brownish speckles on the body, and conspicuous black spots or blotches on the tail lobes. Although Jungle Perch mostly inhabit flowing freshwater rainforest creeks and streams, they breed in estuaries and nearshore coastal waters.

Jungle Perch in Eli Creek, Fraser Island, Queensland, May 2016.

Jungle Perch at Hinchinbrook Island, Queensland

School of Jungle Perch at Eli Creek, Fraser Island, Queensland, June 2012.

Jungle Perch in an aquarium

Fishing for Jungle perch

Cite this page as:
Gomon M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2020, Kuhlia rupestris in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/4456

Jungle Perch, Kuhlia rupestris (Lacépède 1802)

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Occurs from the Gulf of Carpentaria, Cape York, to Tallebudgera Creek, Queensland. Elsewhere, the species is widespread in the Indo-west-central Pacific, from the western Indian Ocean, north to Japan (Ryukyu Islands), south to Queensland, Australia and east to the Federated States of Micronesia (the Caroline Islands), Fiji and Samoa.

Inhabits fast flowing freshwater streams and rivers, usually in rainforest areas but also in estuaries and inshore coastal waters; known to an altitude of 240 m. The species is locally abundant in parts of its range.


Dorsal fin X, 10-11; Anal fin III, 10-11; Pectoral fin 13-14; pelvic fin I, 5 ; Lateral line 41-44; Gill rakers 7-9 + 17-19; Branchiostegal rays 6; Vertebrae 25.
Body moderately deep, depth 2.6-3.0  in SL; compressed. Head moderately pointed, length 3.0-3.6 in SL. Orbit diameter 2.75–3.3 in head length. Mouth protractile, oblique with lower jaw projecting, and moderately large, maxilla extending to below posterior half of eye; supramaxilla absent; teeth villiform in jaws, on vomer, palatines, entopterygoids, and ectopterygoids; gill rakers long and slender; gill membranes not joined across isthmus. Opercle with two spines; rounded corner and lower edge of preopercle finely serrate. Edge of preorbital more coarsely serrate, preorbital serrae 10-15, a few fine serrae sometimes on suborbital.
Scales ctenoid, present on cheek and opercle, none on inter-orbital, snout, or maxilla. Lateral line complete. Dorsal and anal fins with a basal scaly sheath; no scaly pelvic axillary process.
Dorsal fin deeply notched. Caudal fin emarginate, the lobes somewhat rounded, the caudal concavity 5.3-8.7 in head length.


To 45 cm TL and 2.7 kg; commonly to 25 cm.


Silvery; scales dorsally with black edges, those on side with a black bar or spot. Juveniles with a broad black zone, edged above and below in white, in soft portion of dorsal fin, and each lobe of caudal fin with large, white-edged black spot; black areas in these fins enlarge with growth until in adults most of these fins black, with upper and lower edges and corners of caudal whitish.


Omnivore - feeds on aquatic and terrestrial insects, crustaceans, small fishes, and fruits (such as figs) that fall from overhead trees.


Catadromous. Primarily a freshwater species, with adults migrating downstream to spawn in estuaries or nearshore marine waters, from November to April. Egg diameter about 0.75 mm.


IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: Least Concern
Jungle perch are diadromous, and migrate to coastal waters to breed. Weirs and barrages in waterways south of Mackay, QLD, have had impacts on their populations as they unable to move over these structures. This has led to a severe reduction in numbers and local extinctions. Very few jungle perch have been captured passing through recently modified fishways on the Pioneer and Burnett systems.


The specific name is from the Latin rupestris (living among rocks, rock-dwelling), presumably in reference to the freshwater habitat of this species.

Species Citation

Centropomus rupestris Lacépède, 1802, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 4: 252, 273. Type locality: Gol Ravine, Réunion.


Gomon M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Jungle Perch, Kuhlia rupestris (Lacépède 1802)


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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37323004


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:0-50 m

Fishing:Commercial & sports fish

Habitat:Freshwaters to coastal marine

Max Size:45 cm TL; 2.7 kg

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map