Barred Galaxias, Galaxias fuscus Mack 1936

Other Names: Brown Galaxias, Brown Minnow

A Barred Galaxias, Galaxias fuscus. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved

A bright yellowish-orange to brownish galaxias with up to 10 large oval-shaped bars on the side, usually towards front of body. This non-migratory species occurs only in cool mountain streams of the Goulburn River catchment in Central Victoria. 
Barred Galaxias in the headwaters of the Goulburn River, Victoria.
Barred Galaxias in the Goulburn River catchment.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2022, Galaxias fuscus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 15 Apr 2024,

Barred Galaxias, Galaxias fuscus Mack 1936

More Info


Endemic to the upper headwaters of the Goulbourn River system of Central Victoria - on the Murray–Darling Basin side of the Great Dividing Range. Once widespread, the species is now only occurs in 12 small and geographically isolated populations in headwater creeks and streams above an elevation of 400 m. 

Barred Galaxias inhabit small, shallow streams in altitudes of 400 to about 1200 metres. They occur in clear, cool (less than 15ºC during summer months), flowing water with boulder, pebble, gravel or sandy substrates - usually preferring slow-flowing deep pools near faster-flowing water. 


Dorsal fin 12; Anal fin 12; Pectoral fin 12-16.

Body elongate, cylindrical; head short and bulbous, caudal peduncle thick; jaw teeth conical, arranged in a single row.
Scales absent; lateral line a series of pores in shallow mid-lateral groove.

Caudal fin truncate to weakly forked; anal fin originates behind the middle of the dorsal fin; fin spines absent; ventral fins abdominal.


Maximum size 16cm TL, commonly 7-9 cm TL.


Yellow-orange to brownish overall with 1-10 complete or partial dark vertical ovoid blotches usually towards front of body.


Feeds mostly on aquatic insects, but also on molluscs, worms, and takes terrestrial insects from the water surface.


Spawning occurs mid-August to late September in cool moderately-flowing freshwater streams immediately upstream of pools. The eggs are aters (range 8.4 – 10 °C, mean 9.1°C) immediately upstream of pools.

Multi-layered clusters of up to 218 eggs were generally adhered close to the stream bed on the downstream side of cobbles greater than 180 mm diameter.Spawns from late winter to early spring. Females release up to 600 eggs onto cobbles, rocks and woody debris close to the stream bed.

Eggs are large, around 2.2 mm diameter, demersal and adhesive.



  • IUCN Endangered
  • Barred Galaxias are threatened by drought, fire, and erosion - exacerbated by climate change. The population is fragmented, and there are two threat-based locations as drought or fire can (and has) realistically affected half of the individuals of the population at a time. Predatory alien species are also present immediately downstream of barriers protecting each subpopulation, and can invade upstream during random events and cause the extirpation of subpopulations - they require frequent checking and removal (Raadik 2019)
  • Remarks

    This species is non-migratory and the entire lifecycle is completed within their home stream. Movement between the remaining populations of G. fuscus is restricted by the presence of predatory trout.

    Similar Species

    Differs from Galaxias olidus in being overall bright orange-yellow in colour, with up to 10 broad black bars along the side and a more bulbous, a thicker caudal peduncle. They lack the mottled pattern of G. olidus.


    The specific name is from the Latin fuscus (= brown) in reference to the overall colour of this species..

    Species Citation

    Galaxias fuscus Mack, 1936, Mem. Natl. Mus. Vict. 9: 98-101. Type locality: Rubicon River, Victoria.


    Bray, D.J. & Thompson, V.J. 2022


    Atlas of Living Australia

    Barred Galaxias, Galaxias fuscus Mack 1936


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    Raadik, T.A. 2014. Fifteen from one: a revision of the Galaxias olidus Günther, 1866 complex (Teleostei, Galaxiidae) in south-eastern Australia recognises three previously described taxa and describes 12 new species. Zootaxa 3898 (1), 1-198.

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    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37102023

    Conservation:IUCN Endangered


    Max Size:16 cm TL


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