Sunset Gudgeon, Bostrychus zonatus Weber 1908

Other Names: Barred Gudgeon

Sunset Gudgeon, Bostrychus zonatus. Source: Dave Wilson / Aquagreen. License: All rights reserved

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Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018, Bostrychus zonatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Nov 2022,

Sunset Gudgeon, Bostrychus zonatus Weber 1908

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In northern Australia from Darwin, NT (128°25'E) to Doomadge, QLD (138°58'E), and Horn Island and Saibai Island in Torres Strait; elsewhere in Irian Jaya and Papua New Guinea.

The Sunset Gudgeon inhabits brackish estuaries and the lower reaches of freshwater streams with muddy bottoms.


Merisitc features: Dorsal fin IX-X; I, 16-17; Anal fin I, 12 ; Pectoral fin 16; Pelvic fin I, 5; Tranverse Scales 35. 

Body elongate, anteriorly cylindrical, posteriorly compressed; height 18.1-19.1% SL. Head pointed in front, depressed, 28.6% SL. Snout short and rounded, 1.5-2 times eye. Eye 13.3-18.2 % head length, inter-orbital 2 times eye. Mouth oblique, jaws equal, reaching to beyond eye; teeth small, in several rows, no canines; teeth of outer row distant, inner row of teeth small, mixed with larger teeth. Patch of teeth on vomer, none on palatines or tongue. Gill openings not continued forward below, isthmus broad.

Scales small, cycloid, those on head very small; lateral line absent; longitudinal series 120-130; horizontal scale rows 35.

Two dorsal fins; first dorsal half of height of body; second dorsal and anal fin higher than first dorsal. Caudal fin rounded, much shorter than head. Pectoral and pelvic fins shorter than head; pelvic fins separate.


To around 15 cm.


Overall dark brown, belly reddish, with 8-9 broad dark transverse bands on body; narrow transverse stripe between each pair of bands, bands sometimes split into two. Dorsal, anal and caudal fins dark brown, clouded with pale, whitish bordered. Upper part of caudal fin with ocellus. Pectoral and pelvic  fins dark.


Carnivore - feeds on a variety of small invertebrates including crustaceans, worms, gastropods, insects and insect larvae.


Oviparous, benthic spawners.


Of no interest to fisheries.


IUCN Red List: Data Deficient

EPBC Act 1999: Not listed

Species Citation

Bostrychus zonatus Weber, M. (1908). Süsswasserfische von Neu-Guinea; ein Beitrag zur Frage nach dem früheren Zusammenhang von Neu-Guinea und Australien. Nova Guinea. Rés. Exp. sci. Néerland. Nouvelle-Guinea. Zool. 5(2): 201–267–1 fig. pls 11–13 [259, pl. 12(1)].

Type locality: Merauke River, Irian Jaya (as New Guinea).


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

Sunset Gudgeon, Bostrychus zonatus Weber 1908


Allen, G.R. 1991. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of New Guinea. Madang : Christensen Research Institute 268 pp. [Publication No. 9 of the Christensen Research Institute] [153] (as Bostrichthys zonatus)

Allen, G.R., Hortle, K.G. & Renyaan, S.J. 2000. Freshwater fishes of the Timika region, New Guinea. Timinka, Indonesia : P.T. Freeport Indonesia 175 pp. (as Bostrichthys zonatus)

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

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. & Kottelat, M. 2005. Bostrychus microphthalmus, a new microphthalmic cavefish from Sulawesi (Teleostei: Gobiidae). Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwater 16(2): 183-191

Larson, H. 2012. Bostrychus zonatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T2895A2789806. Downloaded on 07 October 2018.

Larson, H.K. & Williams, R.S. 1997. Darwin Harbour fishes: a survey and annotated checklist. Proceed. Sixth Internatl. Mar. Biol Workshop.  pp. 339–380 in Hanley, H.R., Caswell, G., Megirian, D. & Larson, H.K. (eds) The Marine Flora and Fauna of Darwin Harbour, Northern Territory, Australia.  Darwin : NT Museum.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37429012

Conservation:IUCN Data Deficient

Habitat:Freshwater, estuarine, muddy bottoms

Max Size:15 cm

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