Golden Galaxias, Galaxias auratus Johnston 1883

Other Names: Golden Mountain Trout, Saddled Galaxias, Spotted Mountain Trout

Golden Galaxias, Galaxias auratus. Source: Gerald R. Allen. License: All rights reserved


A large robust golden-amber galaxias with dark elliptical spots on the back and sides, a silvery-grey belly, and dorsal, anal and pelvic fins pale orange to amber with broad black margins. Golden Galaxias have a long slender snout, jaws about equal in length, and the anal fin originates a little behind the dorsal-fin origin.

Golden Galaxias are found only on the Central Plateau of Tasmania.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J.Bray & Vanessa J. Thomson, Galaxias auratus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 Jan 2020,

Golden Galaxias, Galaxias auratus Johnston 1883

More Info


Endemic to temperate waters of the Central Plateau of Tasmania, occurring naturally only in Lake Sorell, Lake Cresent and associated streams and wetlands. Although common in both lakes, Golden Galaxias are much more common in Lake Sorell. Two small translocated populations were also established in farm dams in the Clyde River catchment.

Adults prefer vegetated and rocky margins of gently flowing waters in lakes and streams, and are sometimes found in marshy areas. Juveniles shoal in open water, moving inshore as they grow.


Dorsal fin 9-13 (usually 11-13); Anal fin 13-16 (usually 14-15); Pectoral fin 14-18 (usually 14-15); Vertebrae 53-56 (usually 54 or 55).

Body streamlined, elongate and stout; head long; snout slender; mouth large reaching back to eyes; jaws about equal with enlarged canines laterally; depth at vent 5.4-6.7 in SL; lateral line present; gill rakers on first arch 16-20 (usually 18 or 19).

Fins well developed, thick and fleshy at bases; single dorsal fin, ventral fins situated on central abdominal; adipose fin absent; anal fin origin below middle of dorsal fin; caudal fin slightly forked.


Maximum size to 24 cm SL, commonly to 15 cm.


Golden to olive overall with dark circular spots on back and dark ovoid markings on sides. Hind margin of dorsal, anal and pelvic fins black.


Carnivore - feeds on insects, molluscs and small crustaceans. Larvae feed on plankton and pelagic insect larvae.


Spawning occurs late autumn to early spring with a peak in winter. Females lay large numbers (1000-15,000) of small demersal adhesive eggs (1.5 mm diameter) onto cobble or rocky substrates, or onto aquatic vegetation around lake margins. Larvae hatch at 5-6mm. Golden Galaxias live up to 6 years, although most reach 3-4 years of age.


Listed as Near Threatened under the Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995.

Listed as Endangered under the EPBC Act 1999.

Golden Galaxias populations are threatened by introduced species such as carp due to habitat degradation, and by trout which are major predators. They are also threatened by loss and degradation of their habitat.

Similar Species

Golden Galaxias are usually stouter and have more distinct spots and darker fin edges than the Saddled Galaxias, Galaxias tanycephalus.

Species Citation

Galaxias auratus Johnston 1883, Pap. Proc. R. Soc. Tasm. 1882: 53-144, Lake Sorell [as near Great Lake], Tasmania, Australia, elevation 4000 feet.


Dianne J.Bray & Vanessa J. Thomson

Golden Galaxias, Galaxias auratus Johnston 1883


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

Allen, G.R., H. Midgley & M. Allen. 2002. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia. I-xiv + 1-394 pp.

Andrews, A.P. 1976. A revision of the Family Galaxiidae (Pisces) in Tasmania. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 27: 297-349.

Crook, D. & J. Pogonoski. 2003. Threatened fishes committee report. ASBF Newsletter 33(2): 52-56.

Frijlink, S. 1999. The early life history of the golden galaxiid, Galaxias auratus in Lakes Crescent and Sorell, Tasmania. B.Sc (Hons) Thesis, University of Tasmania, Hobart.

Fulton, W. 1990. Tasmanian Freshwater Fishes. University of Tasmania, Hobart 80 pp.

Hardie, S.A. 2003. Current Status and Ecology of the Golden Galaxias (Galaxias auratus). Inland Fisheries Service, Hobart.

Hardie, S. 2003. Threatened fish profile. Golden galaxias (Galaxias auratus Johnston 1883). ASBF Newsletter 33(2): 57-60.

Hardie, S.A. 2007. Conservation biology of the golden galaxias (Galaxias auratus Johnston) (Pisces: Galaxiidae). Ph.D. Thesis, University of Tasmania, Hobart. 

Hardie, S.A. 2013. Hydrological manipulation to assist spawning of a threatened galaxiid fish in a highland lake system. Marine and Freshwater Research 64: 887–899.

Hardie, S.A., Barmuta, L.A.& White, R.W.G. 2004. Threatened fishes of the world: Galaxias auratus Johnston, 1883 (Galaxiidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes 71(2): 126.

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Hardie, S.A., Barmuta L.A., White R.W.G. 2005. Seasonal variation in fyke net catches of golden galaxias (Galaxias auratus) (Galaxiidae): implications for monitoring lacustrine populations of threatened galaxiids. Fisheries Management and Ecology 12: 407-409.

Hardie, S.A., J.E. Jackson, L.A Barmuta, R.W.G. White. 2006. Status of galaxiid fishes in Tasmania, Australia: conservation listings, threats and management issues. Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 16 : 235-250. 

Hardie, S.A., Pyecroft, S.B., Barmuta, L.A. & White, R.W.G. 2007. Spawning-related fungal infection of golden galaxias Galaxias auratus (Galaxiidae). Journal of Fish Biology 70(4): 1287-1294.

Jackson, J.E. 2004. Tasmanian Galaxiidae Recovery Plan 2004-2008. Inland Fisheries Service, Hobart.

Johnson, C.R., R.W.G. White & Y.A.E. Bick., 1981. Cytotaxonomy of seven species of Galaxias (Pisces:Galaxiidae) in Tasmania. Genetika 56: 17-21.

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Stuart-Smith, R.D., Barmuta, L.A. & White, R.W.G. 2006. Nocturnal and diurnal feeding by Galaxias auratus, a lentic galaxiid fish. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 15(4): 521-531.

Stuart-Smith, R.D., Stuart-Smith, J.F., White, R.W.G. & Barmuta, L.A. 2007. The impact of an introduced predator on a threatened galaxiid fish is reduced by the availability of complex habitats. Freshwater Biology 52(8): 1555-1563.

Stuart-Smith, R.D., Stuart-Smith, J.F., White, R.W.G. & Barmuta, L.A. 2007. The effects of turbidity and complex habitats on the feeding of a galaxiid fish are clear and simple. Marine and Freshwater Research 58(5): 429-435.

Stuart-Smith, R.D., White, R.W.G. & Barmuta, L.A. 2008. A shift in the habitat use pattern of a lentic galaxiid fish: an acute behavioural response to an introduced predator. Environmental Biology of Fishes 82(1): 93-100.

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC) (2005). Commonwealth Listing Advice on Golden Galaxias (Galaxias auratus).

Threatened Species Section (TSS) (2006). Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Galaxiidae 2006-2010. DPIW. Department of Primary Industries, Water: Hobart, Tasmania.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37102001

Conservation:EPBC Act Endangered; TAS Near threatened

Habitat:Freshwater lakes & streams

Max Size:24 cm SL


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