Dalhousie Mogurnda, Mogurnda thermophila Allen & Jenkins 1999

Other Names: Dalhousie Purple-spotted Gudgeon

Dalhousie Mogurnda, Mogurnda thermophila. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A gudgeon found only in artesian freshwater springs and associated swampy areas at Dalhousie Springs, South Australia. The Dalhousie Mogurnda can tolerate water temperatures ranging from 13°C to more than 36°C, with an upper thermal tolerance of 41.2°C.

Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2018, Mogurnda thermophila in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1176

Dalhousie Mogurnda, Mogurnda thermophila Allen & Jenkins 1999

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Known only from Dalhousie Springs, South Australia. The species inhabits artesian freshwater thermal springs and associated swampy areas. They are most abundant in Phragmites swamps, and can tolerate a wide temperature range of 13-36°C, with an upper thermal tolerance of 41.2°C.


Dorsal fin VIII-IX + I, 10-12; Anal fin I, 10-12; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 15, (branched rays) 14-15; Pectoral fin 16-17; Pelvic fin I, 5; Transverse scales 13-14; Gill rakers 2 + 8 = 10; Vertebrae 14-15 + 16-18 = 31-33.
Body elongate, laterally compressed, more strongly posteriorly; depth 3.6-4.8 in SL; caudal peduncle relatively elongate. Head bluntly rounded with gently arched snout and nape profile; length 2.8-3.1 in SL. Eye diameter 14.5-18.9 in 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. 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; scales in lateral series 37-42; transverse scales 13-14; predorsal scales 19-21.
Two dorsal fins, first rounded and lower than second, with slender, flexible spines; second dorsal and anal fins similar and opposite. Pectoral fin rounded. Pelvic fins separate, pointed. Caudal fin rounded.


To around 13.5 cm SL


Brownish with cream to tan ventrally or mainly cream or whitish grading to brown on back and dorsal half of head; middle of side broadly bluish, but large adults generally duller; lower half of head creamy yellow to brown; upper surface of head with dark brown speckling; head with three distinct red, diagonal stripes including pair from lower edge of eye to lower rear edge of operculum, and third across middle of operculum, uppermost stripe usually also across middle of pectoral fin base; short, upward deflected stripe from upper rear corner of eye; middle of sides of body profusely covered with small red spots, superimposed on several faint bluish bars. First dorsal fin purplish brown with outer yellowish margin; second dorsal similar but with broad basal whitish stripe superimposed with 5-8 small to moderate-sized red spots and often scattering of smaller red spots medially; anal fin red-brown to purplish brown with narrow white outer margin and broad basal whitish or pale blue stripe superimposed with several large, partially fused red spots; caudal fin reddish brown with small red spots concentrated basally; pectoral fins translucent; pelvic fins dusky pale brown to cream coloured.


Feeds on filamentous green algae, gastropods and fishes.


Oviparous, benthic spawners.


Species name thermophila from the Greek for ‘heat-loving’ in reference to the unique habitat of this species.

Species Citation

Mogurnda thermophila Allen & Jenkins 1999, Aqua, J. Ichthyol. Aquat. Biol. 3(4): 153, fig. 10. Type locality: Dalhousie Springs, South Australia.


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


Australian Faunal Directory

Dalhousie Mogurnda, Mogurnda thermophila Allen & Jenkins 1999


Allen, G.R. 1982. Inland Fishes of Western Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 86 pp (as Mogurnda sp.)

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.

Hammer, M.P., Adams, M. & Foster, R. 2012. Update to the catalogue of South Australian freshwater fishes (Petromyzontida & Actinopterygii). Zootaxa 3593: 59–74 

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:37429052

Fishing:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Artesian springs

Max Size:13.5 cm SL


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