Northern Purplespotted Gudgeon, Mogurnda mogurnda Richardson 1844

Other Names: Mogurnda, Northern Trout Gudgeon, Persian Carpet, Purple Spotted Gudgeon, Purple-spotted Gudgeon

A Northern Purplespotted Gudgeon, Mogurnda mogurnda. Source: Gerald R. Allen / Western Australian Museum. License: All rights reserved

A purplespotted gudgeon found in coastal rivers, streams, billabongs, swamps and lakes across northern Australia.

Cite this page as:
Mogurnda mogurnda in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 Jan 2020,

Northern Purplespotted Gudgeon, Mogurnda mogurnda Richardson 1844

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Known in coastal Northern Australia from the Pentecost River, Western Autralia, to the Jardine River, Queensland; also Mua Island, Torres Strait, and eastern rivers of Cape York to Mossman River, Queensland. The southern distribution limit in Queensland is unclear as it overlaps with Mogurnda adspersa. ; tropical, New Guinea.; also occurs in New Guinea. Inhabits freshwater, billabongs, swamps, lakes and reservoirs, drainage ditches, and clear, flowing streams. The species is often abundant in areas with dense aquatic vegetation, but also in rocky pools with minimal plant life.


Dorsal fin VII-IX + I, 9-14 (usually 11-13); Anal fin I, 10-13; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 13-15, (branched rays) 13-15; Pectoral fin 14-17 (usually 15-16); Pelvic fin I, 5; Transverse scales 13-15; Vertebrae 15-16 + 16-18 = 32-33.
Body elongate, laterally compressed, more strongly posteriorly; body depth at pelvic fin origin 22.6-22.9% SL, body depth at anal fin origin 20.2-23.9% SL; Head bluntly rounded with gently arched snout and nape profile; length 32.3-35.9% SL; snout length 6.7-10.0% SL, eye diameter 6.3-7.8% SL, interorbital width 8.4-10.4% SL; Lower jaw protruding, mouth oblique, reaching to anterior edge of pupil; jaws with villiform, posteriorly curved teeth, in dense bands, outer row enlarged; palate without teeth. Gill opening extending nearly to below rear margin of eye. Sensory pores absent on head, but well developed system of papillae arranged in multiserial bands; caudal peduncle relatively elongate, length 20.0-23.9% SL, depth 14.1-15.7% SL. Sexual dimorphism generally inconspicuous.
Head and body covered with scales, except lips, snout tip, preorbital region, lower jaw, and chin; those on head, predorsal region, breast, uppermost part of back and bases of caudal and pectoral fins cycloid, remainder finely ctenoid; lateral line absent; longitudinal series 34-47; predorsal scales 16-23; transverse scales 13-15 (usually 13-14).
Two dorsal fins, first rounded and lower than second, with slender, flexible spines; second dorsal and anal fins similar and opposite. Pectoral fin rounded, length 23.2-26.1% SL. Pelvic fins separate, pointed, length 21.3-24.7% SL. Caudal fin rounded, length 26.7-31.3% SL.


To around 12cm SL.


Brown dorsally, paler brown to mauve on sides and whitish on belly; 3-4 diagonal, reddish stripes on head across cheek and operculum; sides covered with numerous small red spots interspersed with fused, cream-coloured spots. Fins grey to reddish-brown or yellow-brown, except whitish to translucent pectorals and pelvics; dorsal fins with broad outer margin of yellow, row of large red spots along base and smaller red spots scattered medially; anal fin with narrow white outer margin and white basal stripe superimposed with large red spots; caudal fin spots, mainly basally.


Feeds on a variety of insects, crustaceans, worms, molluscs, fishes and plant material.


Oviparous, benthic spawners; spawning occurs from November to March; females deposit 100-150 adhesive eggs onto hard substrates in batches; males guard and fan eggs until hatching. Larvae hatch after 8-10 days.


Records from the Mitchell River, Western Australia, are probably misidentifications of Mogurnda oligolepis (Morgan et al. 2011), and records from the Frew River, Northern Territory may be an undescribed species (Wager & Unmack 2000)

Species Citation

Mogurnda mogurnda  Richardson 1844,  in Richardson & Gray (eds) The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror ... 1839–43 2: 4, pl. 2(1–2). Type locality: Port Essington, NT.


Australian Faunal Directory

Northern Purplespotted Gudgeon, Mogurnda mogurnda Richardson 1844


Adams, M., Page, T.J., Hurwood, D.A. & Hughes. J.M. 2013. A molecular assessment of species boundaries and phylogenetic affinities in Mogurnda (Eleotridae): a case study of cryptic biodiversity in the Australian freshwater fishes. Marine and Freshwater Research 64(10): 920-931.

Allen, G.R. & Jenkins, A.P. (1999). A review of the Australian freshwater gudgeons, genus Mogurnda (Eleotridae) with descriptions of three new species.  Aqua, J. Ichthyol. Aquat. Biol. 3(4): 141–155

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

Cook BD, Kennard MJ, Real K, Pusey BJ, Hughes JM (2011) Landscape genetic analysis of the tropical freshwater fish Mogurnda mogurnda (Eleotridae) in a monsoonal river basin: importance of hydrographic factors and population history. Freshwat Biol 56: 812–827. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2010.02527.x

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37429034

Fishing:Aquarium fish


Max Size:12 cm SL

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