Pedder Galaxias, Galaxias pedderensis Frankenberg 1968

Pedder Galaxias, Galaxias pedderensis. Source: Rudie H. Kuiter / Aquatic Photographics. License: All rights reserved


The Pedder Galaxias, Australia’s most endangered fish species, became extinct in its natural habitat of Lake Pedder and tributary streams in southwestern Tasmania following the flooding of Lake Pedder in 1972 for hydroelectric power generation.

Cite this page as:
Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray, Galaxias pedderensis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 27 Mar 2023,

Pedder Galaxias, Galaxias pedderensis Frankenberg 1968

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Originally endemic to Lake Pedder and its tributaries in Tasmania. In 1991-1992, a small population was translocated into Lake Oberon in the Western Arthur Range south-west of Lake Pedder. A small breeding population has been successfully established in the Lake.

Adults inhabit the darkly tannin-stained water with rocks and boulders around lake margins and around vegetation or woody debris in streams entering lakes. Juveniles shoal in open water near lake margins. The last fish found in their natural habitat lived in the lower meandering sections of two tributary streams, preferring areas where the streams are heavily shaded, sandy-bottomed and highly convoluted with deep pools and instream cover.


Meristic counts: Dorsal fin 10-13 (usually 11-12); Anal fin 12-16 (usually 12-14); Pectoral fin 11-14 (usually 12-13); Vertebrae 51-54; gill rakers on first arch 10-17.

Body very slender, elongate, depth at anus 6.7-11.5 in SL. Head long, strongly depressed, eyes dorsolateral, level with top of head. Jaws about equal in length.

Scales absent.

Fins small. Dorsal-fin origin well behind ventral fins but originating forward of the vent and anal fin. Anal fin origin behind dorsal-fin origin. Caudal fin truncate to slightly emarginate.


To 16 cm SL, commonly 7-8 cm. Adults usually range in length from 7.5-12 cm, but may grow up to 16 cm; size at maturity is ~9.5 cm fork length in females and ~7.5 cm fork length in males.


Greenish brown, the back and sides covered with distinct but very irregular dark blotches extending to the fleshy bases of the dorsal, tail and anal fins. The belly is off-white. Gold iridescence is often evident.


Carnivores, feeding mainly on aquatic insect larvae, aquatic beetles, small crayfish and copepods.


The sexes are separate and the lifecycle is completed in freshwater. Spawning occurs once a year in Spring at 3-4 years of age in small streams. Females deposit about 150-1200 small adhesive eggs about 2.5 mm in diameter in sheltered positions amongst vegetation, rocks or woody debris.

The larvae hatch after 3-4 weeks. It is likely that the original lake served as a nursery area for the larvae and juveniles, which live in open water

Fish live for 5 to 6 years.


Pedder Galaxias are totally protected and may not be taken without a permit.

IUCN Red List of Threatened species: Critically Endangered 

EPBC Act 1999: Extinct in the Wild 

Tasmanian Threatened Species Protection Act 1995: Endangered

The 1972 flooding of Lake Pedder inundated another headwater catchment, allowing introduced and other native fish species to enter Lake Pedder. As the colonising fish proliferated, numbers of the Pedder Galaxias declined markedly (Chilcott et al. 2013). 


Habitat detruction, along with predation and competition from introduced species have eliminated the Pedder Galaxias from its original habitat. The colonisation of the flooded Lake Pedder by non-native Brown Trout and native Climbing Galaxias is thought to have resulted in the decline of Pedder Galaxias during the 1980’s. In 1996, the last Pedder Galaxias was seen in its remaining natural habitat. 

A translocated population is now the only known breeding population of the Pedder Galaxias. Between 1991 and 1992, 31 fish were moved into Lake Oberon, a remote fish-free lake in south-west Tasmania in an attempt to save the species. The Pedder Galaxias are thriving in this new habitat and in 2001 some were moved to a second artificial habitat.

Prior to the inundation of Lake Pedder, juveniles could be seen swimming around the lake shores in large schools. Adults inhabited the lake and surrounding swamps and streams. They preferred rock and boulder habitat and were found amongst cover in streams entering the lake. The last collected individuals lived in these tributary streams


The species is named pedderensis after the type locality, Lake Pedder. 

Species Citation

Galaxias pedderensis Frankenberg 1968, Aust. Zool. 14(3): 268-274. Type locality: Lake Pedder, Tasmania.


Martin F. Gomon & Dianne J. Bray

Pedder Galaxias, Galaxias pedderensis Frankenberg 1968


Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia. T.F.H. Publications, Brookvale, NSW.

Allen, G. R. , H. Midgley & M. Allen. 2002. Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia. 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.

Chilcott, S., R. Freeman, P.E. Davies, D.A. Crook, W. Fulton, P. Hamr, D. Jarvis & A.C. Sanger. 2013. Extinct habitat, extant species: lessons learned from conservation recovery actions for the Pedder galaxias (Galaxias pedderensis) in south-west Tasmania, Australia. Marine and Freshwater Research 64(9): 864-873

Crook, D.A. & Sanger, A.C. 1997. Recovery Plan for the Pedder, Swan, Clarence, swamp and saddled galaxias. Inland Fisheries Commission, Hobart. Available from:

Frankenberg, R.S. 1968. Two new species of galaxiid fishes from the Lake Pedder region of southern Tasmania. Australian Zoologist. 14(3): 268-274.

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

Gaffney, R.F., P. Hamr & P.E. Davies. 1992. The Pedder Galaxias Recovery Plan: Management Phase. Page(s) 24. Dept Parks, Wildlife & Heritage, Hobart, Tasmania.

Hamr, P. 1992. Conservation of Galaxias pedderensis. Inland Fisheries Commission Occasional Report 92-01: 66.

Hamr, P. 1992. The Pedder Galaxias. Australian Natural History. 23(12): 904.

Hamr, P. 1995. Threatened Fishes of the world: Galaxias pedderensis Frankenberg, 1968 (Galaxiidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes. 43: 406.

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

Inland Fisheries Service. 2006. Fact Sheet for Pedder Galaxias. Available online at:

Jackson, J. 1999. Threatened Fish Profile: Pedder Galaxias Galaxias pedderensis. Australian Threatened Fishes 1999 Supplement. Australian Society for Fish Biology Newsletter. 29(2): 31-32. Avaliable online:

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

Lake, P.S. 1998. After the inundation: long-term changes in the fauna of Lake Pedder, Tasmania, Australia. Pp. 565-578. In McComb, A.J. (ed.) Wetlands for the Future. Gleneagles Publishing, SA.

McDowall, R.M. 1980. Chapter 10. Family Galaxiidae Galaxiids. Pp. 55-69. In McDowall, R.M. (ed.) Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Reed Books, Sydney.

McDowall, R.M. & R.S. Frankenberg. 1981. The Galaxiid Fishes of Australia. Rec. Aust. Mus. 33(10): 443-605.

McDowall, R.M. (ed.) 1996. Freshwater Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. rev. edn. Reed Books, Chatswood, NSW.

Merrick, J.R. & G.E. Schmida. 1984. Australian freshwater fishes: biology and management. Griffin Press Ltd., South Australia. 409 pp.

Paxton, J. R. , D. F. Hoese, G. R. Allen & J. E. Hanley 1989 Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 7. Pisces. Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Australian Government Publishing Service, Canberra. Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 7. v. 7: i-xii + 1-665.

Sanger, A.C. 1988. The distribution, abundance and status of the swamp galaxias and G. pedderensis in the Lake Pedder region of the World Heritage Area (pp. 33–36). In Fulton, W. (ed.) Further Collections of Freshwater Fauna from the World Heritage Area, (Tasmania).  Inland Fisheries Commission Occasional Report 88-03. Inland Fisheries Commission, Hobart. 

Sanger, A.C. 1989. Endangered Fish Study. Newsletter of the Inland Fisheries Commission of Tasmania. 18(2): 4.

Sanger, A.C. 2001. Prospects and problems for the restoration of the Pedder galaxias. (pp. 125–130)  In Sharples, C. (ed.) Lake Pedder: Values and Restoration. Occasional Paper No. 27. Centre for Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart. 

Sanger, A.C. & Fulton, W. 1989. Investigation of the Lake Pedder galaxias, Galaxias pedderensis. Report to Department of Parks, Wildlife and Heritage, Tasmania. 

Threatened Species Unit. 1998. Listing Statement Pedder Galaxias Galaxias pedderensis. [Online]. Parks & Wildlife Service, Tasmania. Available from:

Threatened Species Scientific Committee 2005. Commonwealth Listing Advice on Pedder Galaxias (Galaxias pedderensis). Available online at:

Wager, R. 1996. Galaxias pedderensis. In: IUCN 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. <>. Downloaded on 13 June 2011.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37102008

Conservation:EPBC Act: Extinct in the Wild

Conservation:IUCN Critically Endangered


Max Size:16 cm SL


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