Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon, Philypnodon macrostomus Hoese & Reader 2006

A Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon, Philypnodon macrostomus. Source: Gunther Schmida / http://www.guntherschmida.com.au. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0


A small mottled brown gudgeon with broad dark bands interspersed with orange to whitish bands on the first dorsal fin, narrower bands on the second dorsal fin, and a dark vertical bar at base of caudal fin. The Dwarf flathead gudgeon has a large mouth extending beyond the eye in males, and restricted gill openings that do not reach to below the eye.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Philypnodon macrostomus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/1178

Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon, Philypnodon macrostomus Hoese & Reader 2006

More Info


Endemic to and widespread in coastal drainages of southeastern Australia from Baffle Creek, Miriamvale, central Queensland to Adelaide, South Australia, together with scattered localities in the Murray River system of South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria (Gunbower Creek).

Usually found in coastal freshwater rivers, occasionally occurring in the upper reaches of estuaries and coastal lagoons, although the species may be found in marine waters. Prefers still to gently-flowing streams, lakes and dams, usually on muddy and rocky bottoms, often near aquatic vegetation or woody debris.


Dorsal fin VI-VII + I, 8-9; Anal fin I, 7-9; Pectoral fin 15-16; Caudal fin 15 (segmented); Pelvic fin I, 5; Vertebrae 30-32; Gill rakers 11-12; Vertical scale rows on sides 32–44.

Head length 31–35 % SL; snout broad, of moderate length; gill openings restricted, reaching forward to below posterior margin of preopercles; tongue tip rounded to truncate; top of head scaled to just behind eyes, though sometimes reduced.


Brown to black, with irregular blotches and a vertical black bar at base of caudal fin; 2–3 dark stripes radiating posteriorly from eye; black vertical bar on pectoral-fin base; lips generally black; dorsal fins with stripes; caudal fin spotted; other fins clear to dusky.


Benthic carnivore - feeds on insects, insect larvae, and tiny crustaceans.


Little is known of the biology of this species, although it is presumably similar to that of the Flathead Gudgeon, P. grandiceps. Females produce transparent teardrop-shaped eggs that are protected by the male parent until the larvae hatch after 4-5 days.

Similar Species

Philypnodon macrostomus differs from the similar Flathead Gudgeon, Philypnodon grandiceps, in having a narrower gill opening (below posterior preopercular margin versus below eye in P. grandiceps); sides of belly without vertical bands (versus 4–5 thin brown almost vertical lines); tongue tip rounded to truncate (versus bilobed); body often mottled (versus body uniformly coloured) and having more numerous vertebrae (usually 31–32, versus usually 29–30). P. macrostomus also attains a much smaller size, usually less than 50 mm SL, with the largest specimen known 60 mm SL (versus commonly reaching a size of 70 mm SL and reaching a maximum size of almost 90 mm SL). 


The specific name macrostomus is from the Greek macro (= large) and stoma (= mouth), in reference to the large mouth of this species.

Species Citation

Philypnodon macrostomus Hoese & Reader, 2006, Mem. Mus. Vict. 63(1): 16, figs 1-3. Type locality: creek 8 km from Glenreagh, N of Coffs Harbour, New South Wales.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon, Philypnodon macrostomus Hoese & Reader 2006


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Hoese, D.F., Larson, H.K. & Llewellyn, L.C. 1980. Family Eleotridae: gudgeons. pp. 169-185 19 figs in McDowall, R.M. (ed.) Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed 208 pp., figs, 32 pls.

Hoese, D.F. & Larson, H.K. 1994. Family Eleotrididae. pp. 810-813, figs 715-717 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs.

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Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37429047

Depth:0-3 m

Habitat:Freshwater, estuarine

Max Size:6 cm SL


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