Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica Cuvier 1830
Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved
During the 1980s, populations of this iconic species declined dramatically, and Macquarie Perch are now nationally listed as endangered.
Macquarie Perch in Victoria: threats, actions and recoveryRe-introduction of Macquarie Perch into the Ovens River 2016Macquarie Perch re-introduction project - Ovens River, Victoria 2015
A Macquarie Perch spawning aggregation in NE VIC.
The Macquarie Perch Recovery Project in the upper Lachlan River, NSW.
Caring for Macquarie Perch in the enlarged Cotter Dam, ACT.
Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica Cuvier 1830
Known only from scattered localities in the cool upper reaches of the Murray-Darling system of New South Wales, including the Hawkesbury-Nepean and Shoalhaven catchments, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. Also found in man-made lakes on the NSW coast.
Macquarie Perch numbers have declined in Victoria, and the species is now restricted to a small number of fragmented populations mostly in cool, rocky, fast flowing streams in relatively undisturbed upland catchments, such as King Parrot Creek in the in the Goulburn Broken Catchment in northern Victoria. A self-sustaining population also exists in the Yarra River from fish translocated in the 1920s.
Macquarie Perch inhabit cool, clear freshwaters of rivers, lakes and reservoirs, preferring slow-flowing deep rocky pools.
Dorsal fin VIII-XII, I, 11-14; Anal fin III, 8-11; Pectoral fin 14-17.
Scales mostly ctenoid, of moderate-size; scales present on cheeks and opercula, absent from snout; lateral line follows dorsal profile, continues on to base of caudal fin with 42-60 scales; 9-11 transverse scales above lateral line, 18-22 below.
Single dorsal fin, long-based with a spiny anterior section, 4th and 5th spines longest, separated from soft posterior section by moderate notch; anal fin opposite soft portion of dorsal fin with 3 stout spines, 2nd spine longest; pectoral fins elongate, upper rays longest; ventral fins inserted slightly behind base of pectoral fins, first ray extended into 2 sensory filaments; caudal fin rounded.
|To 50 cm and 3.5 kg, commonly 20-25 cm and less than 1.5 kg.|
Almost black or dark silvery-grey, to bluish-grey or greenish-brown above, becoming paler to off-white below, often with a bronze or yellowish tinge. Iris silver. Pectoral fins grey to yellowish. Pelvic fins often rosy with black margins. Other fins generally greyish, often with purplish tinge. Juveniles sometimes mottled on back and sides.
Macquarie Perch in the Murray-Darling Basin vary from being almost black or dark silvery-grey to bluish-grey or greenish-brown above, paler to off-white below, often with a yellowish tinge.
Feeds on shrimps and small benthic aquatic insect larvae.
Males reach sexual maturity after 2 years and females after 3 years. Spawning occurs from October to December, usually when water temperatures rise above 16 deg C.
Females spawn around 50,000-100,000 eggs in riffles, or on the edge of pools. The eggs sink to the bottom or are carried downstream to lodge in gravelly or cobble areas.
The eggs are 1-2 mm diameter, spherical, adhesive and demersal. Larvae hatch after 10-11 days at water temperatures of 15-17 deg C.
|Although Macquarie Perch are fully protected in New South Wales, illegal fishing remains a threat to the species. Strict bag limits and closed seasons and areas apply for recreational fishers in Victoria.|
EPBC Act: Endangered
ACT: Listed as Endangered (Nature Conservation Act 2014)
NSW: Listed as Endangered (Fisheries Management Act 1994)
VIC: Listed as Threatened (Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988)
VIC: Listed as Endangered (Advisory List of Threatened Vertebrate Fauna in Victoria: 2013 list)
SA: Listed as Extinct (Action Plan for South Australian Freshwater Fishes 2009 list)
The decline in Macquarie Perch populations over time are the result of a number of factors, including overfishing by recreational fishers, habitat degradation including erosion, increased siltation, removal of woody debris and riparian vegetation, river regulation and the the construction of dams, EHN disease (carried by redfin perch and considered highly infectious to Macquarie Perch), and competition with and predation by introduced species such as trout, carp and redfin perch.
The genus is named for the Macquarie River, NSW, the initial collection site of the genus and species. The specific name australasica is from the Latin australis, for southern in reference to its locality on the southern hemisphere.
Macquarie Perch were probably known as Wunnumberu (pronounced ‘Wanambiyu’) by the Dhudhuroa people who lived along the upper Murray River and lower Kiewa and Mitta Mitta rivers.
|Macquaria australasica Cuvier, 1830, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 5: 377 Pl. 131. Type locality: Macquarie River, Bathurst, New South Wales.|
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2020
Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica Cuvier 1830
Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications 240 pp., 63 pls.
Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.
Appleford, P., Anderson, T.A. & Gooley, G.J. 1998. Reproductive cycle and gonadal development of Macquarie perch, Macquaria australasica Cuvier (Percichthyidae), in Lake Dartmouth and tributaries of the Murray–Darling Basin, Victoria, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 49: 163–169. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF97012
Ayres, R. 2009. Population status of Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica, in King Parrot Creek, Victoria, in June 2009. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research. Confidential Client Report for the Goulburn Broken Catchment Management Authority. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Heidelberg, Victoria. PDF
Bishop, K.A. 1979. Aquatic communities of an impounded coastal river. MSc thesis, Macquarie University, NSW, Australia. Unpublished.
Broadhurst B., Ebner B. & Clear R. 2012. A rock-ramp fishway expands nursery grounds of the endangered Macquarie perch Macquaria australasica. Australian Journal of Zoology 60: 91–100.
Broadhurst B.T., Ebner B.C., Lintermans M., Thiem J.D. & Clear R.C. 2013. Jailbreak: A fishway releases the endangered Macquarie perch from confinement below an anthropogenic barrier. Marine and Freshwater Research 64: 900–908.
Butcher, A.D. 1945. The food of indigenous and non-indigenous freshwater fish in Victoria, with special reference to trout. Fisheries Pamphlet No. 2, Victoria
Cadwallader, P.L. 1977. J. O. Langtry’s 1949-1950 Murray River Investigations. Fisheries and Wildlife Paper, Victoria. No.13, 70 pp.
Cadwallader, P.L. 1978. Some causes of decline in range and abundance of native fishes in the Murray-Darling River system. Proc. Royal Soc. Vic. 90(1): 211-224.
Cadwallader, P.L. 1979. Distribution of native and introduced fish in the Seven Creeks River system, Victoria. Australian Journal of Ecology 4: 361-385.
Cadwallader, P. 1981. Past and present distributions and translocations of Macquarie perch Macquaria australasica (Pisces: Percichthyidae), with particular reference to Victoria. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 93: 23–30.
Cadwallader, P.L. 1984. Use of scales and otoliths to age Macquarie perch, Macquaria australasica (Pisces: Percichthyidae). Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Technical Report Series No. 12.
Cadwallader, P.L. & Backhouse, G.N. 1983. A Guide to the Freshwater Fish of Victoria. Melbourne: F.D. Atkinson Government Printer 249 pp.
Cadwallader, P.L., Backhouse, G.N., Beumer, J.P. & Jackson, P.D. 1984. The conservation status of native freshwater fish of Victoria. Victorian Naturalist 101(3): 112-114.
Cadwallader, P.L. & Eden A.K. 1979. Observations on the food of Macquarie perch, Macquaria australasica (Pisces: Percichthyidae), in Victoria. Aust. J. Mar. Freshwater Res. 30: 401-409.
Cadwallader, P.L. & Rogan, P.L. 1977. The Macquarie perch, Macquaria australasica (Pisces: Percichthyidae), of Lake Eildon, Victoria. Australian Journal of Ecology 2: 409–418.
Castelnau, F.L. de 1872. Contribution to the ichthyology of Australia. 1. The Melbourne fish market. Proceedings of the Zoological and Acclimatisation Society of Victoria 1: 29-242 1 pl. (described as seven different species: Dules christyi, Murrayia guntheri, Murrayia cyprinoides, Murrayia bramoides and Riverina fluviatilis)
Cuvier, G.L. in Cuvier, G.L. & Valenciennes, A. 1830. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris: Levrault Vol. 5 499 pp, Pls 100-140. See ref at BHL
Cuvier, G. (ed.) 1837. Le Règne Animal, distribué d'après son organisation, pour servir de base à l'histoire naturelle des animaux, et d'introduction à l'anatomie comparée. Paris : Déterville 278 pp., Atlas, pls 1-80. (as Macquaria australasiae)
Douglas, J.W. 2002. Observations on aspects of Macquarie Perch Macquaria australasica (Cuvier) spawning, natural recruitment and selected population attributes in Lake Dartmouth and the Mitta Mitta River between 1994 and 1998. Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute Freshwater Fisheries Report No. 02/7, Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, Victoria.
Douglas, J., Giles, A. & Strongman, R. 2002. Lake Dartmouth Multi-species Fishery Assessment. Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute Freshwater Fisheries Report No. 02/2. Marine and Freshwater Resources Institute, Snobs Creek.
Dufty, S. 1986. Genetic and morphological divergence between populations of Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica) east and west of the Great Dividing Range. Hons. Thesis. Kensington NSW: University of NSW. Unpublished.
Ebner, B.C. & Lintermans, M. (eds) 2007. Fish passage, movement requirements and habitat use for Macquarie perch. Final Report to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Australia. ACT Parks, Conservation and Lands, Territory and Municipal Services, Canberra.
Ebner, B.C., Lintermans, M., Jekabsons, M. & Dunford, M. 2010. Convoluted shorelines confound diel-range estimates of radio-tracked fish. Marine and Freshwater Research 61: 1360–1365. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF10043
Farrington, L.W. 2012. Microsatellite markers for the threatened Australian freshwater fish, Macquarie Perch (Macquaria australasica). Conservation Genetics Resources 4(2): 235-237.
Farrington, L.W., Lintermans, M. & Ebner, B.C. 2009. Characterising genetic diversity in the nationally threatened fish Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica in the upper Murrumbidgee River. Final Report for the Natural Heritage Trust NHT Project No: 18152. 35 pp.
Faulks, L.K., Gilligan, D.M. & Beheregaray, L.B. 2010. Evolution and maintenance of divergent lineages in an endangered freshwater fish, Macquaria australasica. Conservation Genetics 11(3): 921–934.
Faulks, L.K., Gilligan, D.M. & Beheregaray, L.B. 2011. The role of anthropogenic vs. natural in-stream structures in determining connectivity and genetic diversity in an endangered freshwater fish, Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica). Evolutionary Applications 4: 589–601.
Gilligan, D. 2005. Fish Communities of the Murrumbidgee Catchment: Status and Trends. NSW Department of Primary Industries – Final Report Series No. 75.
Gilligan, D. 2005. Fish Communities of the Lower Murray-Darling catchment: Status and trends. NSW Department of Primary Industries – Final Report Series No. 83.
Gilligan, D., McGarry, T., & Carter, S. 2010. A scientific approach to developing habitat rehabilitation strategies in aquatic environments: A case study on the endangered Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica) in the Lachlan catchment. A report to the Lachlan Catchment Management Authority. Industry & Investment NSW – Fisheries Final Report Series No. 128, 61 pp.
Gooley, G.J. 1986. Culture methods for Macquarie perch at Dartmouth, Victoria. Australian Fisheries 45(9): 18-20.
Gooley, G.J. & McDonald, G.L. 1988. Preliminary study on the hormone-induced spawning of Macquarie perch, Macquaria australasica (Cuvier) (Percichthyidae), from Lake Dartmouth, Victoria. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Technical Report Series 80: 1-13.
Gray, SC., De Silva, SS., Ingram, BA. & Gooley, GJ. 2000. Effects of river impoundment on body condition and reproductive performance of the Australian native fish, Macquarie Perch (Macquaria australasica). Lakes and Reservoirs: Research and Management 5: 281–291.
Hammer, M.P. & Walker, K.F. 2004. A catalogue of South Australian freshwater fishes, including new records, range extensions and translocations. Transactions of the Royal Society of South Australia 128(2): 85-97
Harris, J.H. & Gehrke, P.C. 1997. Fish and Rivers in Stress: the NSW Rivers Survey. NSW Fisheries, Cronulla.
Harris, J.H. & Rowland, S.J. 1996. Family Percichthyidae. pp. 150-163 in McDowall, R.M. (ed.) Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Sydney : Reed Books 247 pp.
Humphries, P. & Walker, K. (eds) 2013. Ecology of Australian Freshwater Fishes. Collingwood, Victoria : CSIRO Publishing 423 pp.
Ingram, B.A., Barlow, C.G., Burchmore, J.J., Gooley, G.J., Rowland, S.J. & Sanger, A.C. 1990. Threatened native freshwater fishes in Australia - some case histories. Journal of Fish Biology 37: 175-182 DOI: 10.1111/j.1095-8649.1990.tb05033.x
Ingram, B.A., Douglas, J.W. & Lintermans, M. 2000. Threatened fishes of the world: Macquaria australasica Cuvier, 1830 (Percichthyidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 59: 68.
Ingram, B.A., Rimmer, M.A & Rowland, S.J. 1994. Induced spawning trials with captive Macquarie perch Macquaria australasica (Percichthyidae). Proceedings of the Linnean Society of NSW 114(2): 109-116.
Jackson, P.D. 1981. Trout introduced into south-eastern Australia: their interaction with native fishes. Victorian Naturalist 98(1): 18-23.
Kearns, J., Tonkin, Z., O’Mahony, J. & Lyon, J. 2012. Identification and protection of key spawning habitats for Macquarie Perch in King Parrot Creek: Black Saturday Victoria 2009 – Natural values fire recovery program. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Heidelberg, Victoria. 16 pp.
King, A.J., Tonkin, Z., Mahoney, J. & Raymond, S. 2011. Spawning and recruitment of the Yarra River’s endangered Macquarie perch Macquaria australasica population – 2010/2011. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research Client Report, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne.
Knight, J. & Bruce, A. 2010. Threatened fish profile: ‘Eastern’ Macquarie perch Macquaria australasica Cuvier 1830. Australian Society for Fish Biology Newsletter 40(2): 76–78.
Koehn, J.D. & Morison, A.K. 1990. A review of the conservation status of native freshwater fish in Victoria. Victorian Naturalist 107(1): 13-25.
Koehn, J.D. & O'Connor, W.D. 1990. Threats to Victorian native freshwater fish. Victorian Naturalist 107(1): 5-12.
Koster, W.M., Dawson, D.R., Morrongiello, J.R. & Crook, D.A. 2013. Spawning season movements of Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica) in the Yarra River, Victoria. Australian Journal of Zoology 61(5): 386-94. https://doi.org/10.1071/ZO13054
Krefft, G. 1868. Descriptions of some new Australian freshwater fishes. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1867: 942-944 (described as Dules viverrinus)
Kuiter, R.H. 2013. Pictorial Guide to Victoria's Freshwater Fishes. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics 178 pp.
Lake, J.S. 1971. Freshwater Fishes and Rivers of Australia. Melbourne : Nelson 61 pp.
Lake, J.S. 1978. Australian Freshwater Fishes. Melbourne : Thomas Nelson 160 pp. 140 figs.
Lintermans, M. 1991. The decline of native fish in the Canberra region: The effects of habitat modification. Bogong 12(3): 4-7.
Lintermans, M. 1991. The decline of native fish in the Canberra region: the impacts of introduced species. Bogong 12(4): 18-22.
Lintermans, M. 2006. The Re-establishment of the Endangered Macquarie Perch, Macquaria australasica, in the Queanbeyan River, New South Wales, with an examination of dietary overlap with alien trout. CRC Freshwater Ecology Technical Report.
Lintermans, M. 2007. Fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin — An Introductory Guide. Canberra : Murray-Darling Basin Commission 157 pp. [MDBC Publication Number 10/07]
Lintermans, M. 2009. Fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin — An Introductory Guide. Canberra : Murray-Darling Basin Commission 157 pp. [MDBC Publication Number 10/07]
Lintermans, M. 2012. Managing potential impacts of reservoir enlargement on threatened Macquaria australasica and Gadopsis bispinosus in southeastern Australia. Endangered Species Research 16: 1-16.
Lintermans, M. 2013. The rise and fall of a translocated population of the endangered Macquarie perch, Macquaria australasica, in south-eastern Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 64: 838–850.
Lintermans, M. 2015. Finding the needle in the haystack: comparing sampling methods for detecting an endangered freshwater fish. Marine and Freshwater Research 67: 1740-1749. https://doi.org/10.1071/MF14346
Lintermans, M. & Ebner, B. 2010. Threatened fish profile: ‘Western’ Macquarie perch Macquaria australasica Cuvier 1830. Australian Society for Fish Biology Newsletter 40(2): 76–78.
Lintermans, M., Lyon, J.P., Hames, F., Hammer, M., Kearns, J., Raadik, T.A. & Hall, A. 2014. Managing fish species under threat: case studies from the Native Fish Strategy for the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia. Ecological Management and Restoration 15(S1): 57-61.
Lintermans, M., Pearce, L., Tonkin, Z., Bruce, A. & Gilligan, D. 2019. Macquaria australasica (errata version published in 2020). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T12581A167651778. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T12581A167651778.en. Downloaded on 22 May 2020.
MacDonald, C.M. 1978. Morphological and biochemical systematics of Australian freshwater and estuarine percichthyid fishes. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 29(5): 667-698 figs 1-11
Macleay, W.J. 1881. Descriptive catalogue of the fishes of Australia. Part 1. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 1 5(3): 302-444 (described as Murrayia riverina)
Macleay, W.J. 1885. New fishes from the upper Murrumbidgee. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 10(2): 267-269 (described as Murrayia jenkinsi)
McKeown, K.C. 1934. Notes on the food of trout and Macquarie perch in Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 19: 141-152.
Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management. Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp. figs 280 col. figs.
Pavlova, A., Beheregaray, L.B., Coleman, R., Gilligan, D.M., Harrisson, K.A., Ingram, B.A., Kearns, J., Lamb, A.M., Lintermans, M., Lyon, J., Nguyen, T., Sasaki, M., Tonkin, Z., Yen, J.D.L. & Sunnucks, P. 2017. Severe consequences of habitat fragmentation on genetic diversity of an endangered Australian freshwater fish: a call for assisted gene flow. Evolutionary Applications 10(6): 531-550. https://doi.org/10.1111/eva.12484
Prokop, F. 2002. Australian Fish Guide. Croydon South, Victoria : Australian Fishing Network 256 pp.
Silva, L.G.M., Pearce, L., Mabon, S., Horta, A., Duffy, D., Kopf, S., Ning N. & Baumgartner, L.J. 2018. Macca’s in the Mannus, Macquarie perch refuge in the Upper Murray. Institute for Land,Water and Society, Charles Sturt University. 67 pp.
Starrs, D., Ebner, B.C., Lintermans, M. & Fulton, C.J. 2011. Using sprint swimming performance to predict upstream passage of the endangered Macquarie perch in a highly regulated river. Fisheries Management and Ecology 18(5): 360-374. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2400.2011.00788.x
Thiem, J.D., Broadhurst, B.T., Lintermans, M., Ebner, B.C., Clear, R.C. & Wright, D. 2013. Seasonal differences in the diel movements of Macquarie perch (Macquaria australasica) in an upland reservoir. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 22: 145–156.
Tonkin, Z. & Lyon, J. 2010. Population assessment and reproductive behaviour of Macquarie Perch Macquaria australasica in Lake Dartmouth, Victoria: 2009 Progress report. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research. Unpublished report. Department of Sustainability and Environment, Heidelberg, Victoria.
Tonkin, Z., Lyon, J. & Pickworth, A. 2009. An assessment of the spawning stocks, reproductive behaviour and habitat use of Macquarie perch Macquaria australasica in Lake Dartmouth, Victoria. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Melbourne.
Tonkin, Z., Lyon, J. & Pickworth, A. 2010. Spawning behaviour of the endangered Macquarie perch Macquaria australasica in an upland Australian river. Ecological Management & Restoration 11: 223–226.
Tonkin, Z., Lyon, J. & O’Mahony, J. 2012. Population assessment and reproductive behaviour of Macquarie perch Macquaria australasica in Lake Dartmouth, Victoria: 2011/12. Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, Melbourne.
Trueman, W.T. 2007. A review of attempts at the artificial propagation of the Macquarie Perch Macquaria australasica with recommendations for future action. Native Fish Australia Technical Report #2.
Trueman, W.T. 2011. True Tales of the Trout Cod: River Histories of the Murray-Darling Basin. MDBA Publication No. 215/11. Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Canberra.
Unmack, P.J. 2001. Biogeography of Australian freshwater fishes. Journal of Biogeography 28: 1053-1089.
Wharton, J.C. 1968. Spawning areas of the Macquarie Perch Macquaria australasica above the Eildon Lake (Victoria). Australian Society for Limology Newsletter 6: 11–13.