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:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2020, Mogurnda mogurnda in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 May 2024,

Northern Purplespotted Gudgeon, Mogurnda mogurnda Richardson 1844

More Info


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. Elsewhere the species occurs in New Guinea. 
Inhabits freshwater billabongs, swamps, lakes and reservoirs, drainage ditches, and clear, flowing streams. Although often abundant in areas with dense aquatic vegetation, it also occurs 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 above, 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, Northern Territory.


Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

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. 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. & Jenkins, A.P. 1999. A review of the Australian freshwater gudgeons, genus Mogurnda (Eleotridae) with descriptions of three new species. Aqua, Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology 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, B.D., Kennard, M.J., Real, K., Pusey, B.J. & Hughes, J.M. 2011. Landscape genetic analysis of the tropical freshwater fish Mogurnda mogurnda (Eleotridae) in a monsoonal river basin: importance of hydrographic factors and population history. Freshwater Biology 56: 812–827. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2427.2010.02527.x

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 

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. 

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., 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 

Munro, I.S.R. 1967. The Fishes of New Guinea. Port Moresby : Dept. Agric. Stock Fish. 651 pp. 23 figs 84 pls. 

Pusey, B.J., Burrows, D.W., Kennard, M.J., Perna, C.N., Unmack. P.J., Allsop, Q. & Hammer, M.P. 2017. Freshwater fishes of northern Australia. Zootaxa 4253(1): 1-104 

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

Richardson, J. 1844. Ichthyology. pp. 1-16 pls 1-6, 7-8 (parts), 9-10 in Richardson, J. & Gray, J.E. (eds). The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror under the command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, R.N., F.R.S., during the years 1839–43. London : E.W. Janson Vol. 2. See ref online

Wager, R. & Unmack, P.J. 2000. Fishes of the Lake Eyre Catchment of Central Australia. Brisbane : Department of Primary Industries and Queensland Fisheries Service 88 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37429034

Fishing:Aquarium fish


Max Size:12 cm SL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map