Blackstriped Dwarf Galaxias, Galaxiella nigrostriata (Shipway 1953)

Other Names: Black Stripe Minnow, Black-striped Jollytail, Black-striped Minnow, Dwarf Minnow, Galaxias, Striped Galaxias

A male Male Blackstriped Dwarf Galaxias, Galaxiella nigrostriata. Source: Gerald R. Allen / Western Australian Museum. License: All rights reserved


A tiny dark olive-brown to paler greyish-brown galaxias with a bright yellow to reddish mid-lateral stripe bounded by narrow black stripes above and below, and a silvery-white belly.

The Blackstriped Dwarf Galaxias inhabits coastal wetlands of south-west Western Australia. During summer when ephemeral pools dry out, individuals burrow into the moist soil below to aestivate until the rains return in autumn.

Video of Blackstriped Dwarf Galaxias

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F. 2020, Galaxiella nigrostriata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 28 Feb 2021,

Blackstriped Dwarf Galaxias, Galaxiella nigrostriata (Shipway 1953)

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Endemic to seasonally dry coastal wetlands of south-west Western Australia, from about Albany to Augusta, with small populations near Bunbury and north of Perth. 

Inhabits permanent or ephemeral spring-fed headwater streams, ponds, roadside ditches and small creeks in sandy wetland areas with thick vegetation. Also occurs in the shallow areas of some freshwater lakes with thick vegetation. The water is usually highly tannin-stained and acidic (pH 4.5-6.5).


Dorsal fin 7-9 (usually 8-9); Anal fin 10-15 (usually 11-12); Pectoral fin 11-14 (usually 12); Pelvic fin 5; Gill rakers (all rudimentary) 14-17.

Body elongate, slender, depth at vent 13.5-18.5% SL; head length about 1/5 of SL; snout broad, jaws equal, mouth cleft narrow. Scales absent.

A low membranous fold present along caudal peduncle almost to dorsal and anal rays; dorsal fin origin behind level of anal fin; caudal fin rounded.


To 5 cm SL, commonly to 3.5 cm.


For most of the year, Blackstriped Dwarf Galaxias are a uniform brown to bluish-black overall with faint stripes. During the breeding season, they are become greyish-brown to tan above with a whitish belly and two distinctive black stripes separated by a yellow, gold or reddish stripe extending from the eye to the caudal peduncle. These stripes are most prominent in breeding males.


Feeds on small insects, aquatic insect larvae and microcrustaceans.


The sexes are separate and fertilisation is external. The entire life cycle is completed in freshwater, and breeding occurs from June to September with a peak between August and September. Females spawn multiple times depositing several clutches of eggs in flooded vegetation over several weeks.


  • EPBC Act 1999 : Vulnerable
  • IUCN Red List : Near Threatened
  • Western Australian Government (Wildlife Conservation Act 1950 (WCA Act 1950): Endangered
  • The Blackstriped Galaxias has undergone severe population losses due to the impacts of climate change on the environments of southwestern Australia (Ogston et al. 2016).
  • Remarks

    Research has showed that populations of Blackstriped Dwarf Galaxias are not only genetically divergent, but some are morphologically distinct (Galeotti et al. 2014).

    Species Citation

    Galaxias pusillus nigrostriatus Shipway 1953, West. Aust. Nat. 3(8): 175, fig. Type locality: Drain running into Marbellup Creek, Elleker near Albany, Western Australia.


    Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F. 2020


    Atlas of Living Australia

    Blackstriped Dwarf Galaxias, Galaxiella nigrostriata (Shipway 1953)


    Allen, G.R. 1989 Freshwater fishes of Australia. T.F.H. Publications, Inc., Neptune City, New Jersey.

    Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

    Berra, T.M. & G.R. Allen. 1989. Clarification of the difference between Galaxiella nigrostriata (Shipway, 1953) and Galaxiella munda McDowall, 1978 (Pisces: Galaxiidae) from Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 14: 293–297.

    Brown, T.R., Todd, C.R., Hale, R., Swearer, S.E. & Coleman, R.A. 2020. Testing the adaptive advantage of a threatened species over an invasive species using a stochastic population model. Journal of Environmental Management 264,

    Christensen, P. 1982. The distribution of Lepidogalaxias salamandroides and other small fresh-water fishes in the lower south-west of Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 65: 131-141.

    Coleman, R.A., Hoffman, A.A. & Raadik, T.A. 2015. A review of Galaxiella pusilla (Mack) (Teleostei: Galaxiidae) in south-eastern Australia with a description of a new species. Zootaxa 4021(2): 243-281.

    Galeotti, D.M. 2013. Metapopulation theory explains Black-stripe Minnow (Pisces: Galaxiidae, Galaxiella nigrostriata) distribution in seasonal wetlands in south-west Western Australia. MSc thesis, Edith Cowan University, Perth, Western Australia, 165 pp. PDF

    Galeotti, D.M.,  M.A. Castalanelli, D.M. Groth, C. McCullough & M. Lund. 2014. Genotypic and morphological variation between Galaxiella nigrostriata (Galaxiidae) populations: implications for conservation. Marine and Freshwater Research Abstract

    Galeotti, D.M., McCullough, C.D. & Lund, M.A. 2008. Current State of Knowledge of the Black-stripe Minnow Galaxiella nigrostriata (Pisces: Galaxiidae) in Western Australia. Edith Cowan University, Centre for Ecosystem Management Report 2008-12, Unpublished report to Kemerton Silica Sands Pty. Ltd., Perth, Western Australia. 36 pp

    Galeotti, D.M., McCullough, C.D. & Lund, M.A. 2010. Black-stripe minnow Galaxiella nigrostriata (Shipway 1953) (Pisces: Galaxiidae), a review and discussion. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 93: 13–20.

    Gill, H.S. & Morgan, D.L. 1996. Threatened fishes of the world: Galaxiella nigrostriata (Shipway, 1953) (Galaxiidae).  Environmental Biology of Fishes 47: 344.

    Gill, H.S. & Morgan, D.L. 2003. Ontogenetic changes in the diet of Galaxiella nigrostriata (Shipway, 1953) (Galaxiidae) and Lepidogalaxias salamandroides Mees, 1961 (Lepidogalaxiidae). Ecology of Freshwater Fish 12: 151-158.

    Gill, H.S. & Neira, F.J. 1994. Larval descriptions of three galaxiid fishes endemic to south-western Australia: Galaxias occidentalis, Galaxiella munda and Galaxiella nigrostriata (Salmoniformes: Galaxiidae). Marine and Freshwater Research 45: 1307–1317. doi:10.1071/MF9941307

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    Morgan, D.L., Unmack, P.J., Beatty, S.J., Ebner, B.C., Allen, M.G., Keleher, J.J., Donaldson, J.A. & Murphy, J. 2014. An overview of the ‘freshwater fishes’ of Western Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 97: 263–278.

    Ogston, G., Beatty, S.J., Morgan, D.L., Pusey, B.J. & Lymbery, A.J. 2016. Living on burrowed time: Aestivating fishes in south-western Australia face extinction due to climate change. Biological Conservation 195: 235–244.

    Pen, L.J., Gill, H.S., Humphries, P. & Potter, I.C. 1993. Biology of the black-stripe minnow Galaxiella nigrostriata, including comparisons with the other two Galaxiella species. Journal of Fish Biology 43: 847–863.  

    Phillips N, Chaplin J, Morgan D, Beatty S 2007. The evolutionary significance of Balston’s pygmy perch and mud minnow populations in the Blackwood River. Centre for Fish and Fisheries Research. Unpublished report for the Department of Water. Perth, Western Australia. 34 pp.  

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    Smith, K.D. 1996. An outlying population of Galaxiella nigrostriata (Pisces: Galaxiidae) at Melaleuca Park, Western Australia: Causes of habitat fragmentation. Honours thesis, Department of Zoology, The University of Western Australia. 115 pp.  

    Smith, K.D., Knott, B. & Jasinska, E.J. 2002. Biology of the Black-stripe minnow, Galaxiella nigrostriata (Shipway), in an acidic, black-water lake in Melaleuca Park near Perth, Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 21: 277-284. PDF available Open Access

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    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37102021


    Conservation:IUCN Endangered


    Max Size:4.8 cm TL


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