Spotted Galaxias, Galaxias truttaceus Valenciennes 1846

Other Names: Minnow, Mountain Trout, Native Trout, Ocellated Mountain Trout, Spotted Minnow, Spotted Mountain Trout, Spotted Trout, Spotted Trout Minnow, Trout Galaxias, Trout Minnnow, Western Mountain Trout, Yarra Trout
Spotted Galaxias, Galaxias truttaceus, from Blackfish Creek, Wilsons Promontory

A Spotted Galaxias, Galaxias truttaceus, from Blackfish Creek, Wilsons Promontory, Victoria. Source: Ken Harris / Museum Victoria. License: CC BY Attribution


A distinctive galaxias with vertical rows of pale-edged dark spots along the side, a dark diagonal stripe below the eye and reddish-orange fins with dark margins. Spotted Galaxias have a wider body than most other Galaxias species.

Although eastern and western Spotted Galaxias populations are genetically distinct, Morgan et al. (2016) found no evidence that these subpopulations reflect either different species or subspecies.

Video of Galaxias truttaceus from the Freshwater Fish Group, Murdoch University.

Galaxias truttaceus at Wilsons Promontory, Victoria.

Galaxias truttaceus at Waratah Bay in the Cape Liptrap Coastal Park in Victoria. Common Galaxias, Galaxias maculatus, can also be seen briefly at several points in the video.

Spotted Galaxias (Galaxias truttaceus), Common Galaxias (Galaxias maculatus), Freshwater Flathead, Congolli (Pseudaphritis urvillii) and Southern Shortfin Eel (Anguilla australis) in Fotheringate Creek, Flinders Island, Tasmania.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F. 2023, Galaxias truttaceus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2024,

Spotted Galaxias, Galaxias truttaceus Valenciennes 1846

More Info


Southern Australia, upstream of Mallacoota Inlet (Victoria) to Eight Mile Creek, Port MacDonnell (South Australia), including throughout Tasmania and the Bass Strait Islands, and three catchments in south Western Australia: Goodga River, Angove River and Kent River. Eastern Australian populations are diadromous with marine larvae, while those in south-western Australia are landlocked. 

Inhabits still or flowing rivers, streams and lakes, usually sheltering around aquatic vegetation, rocks, logs and overhung banks. Juveniles have been observed ‘climbing’ and ‘jumping’ to successfully negotiate a low, vertical weir wall during their upstream recruitment migrations in south-western Australia.


Dorsal fin 11-15 (usually 12-14); Anal fin 14-19; Pectoral fin 13-16 (usually 14-15).

Body stout, elongate, greatest depth 5.4-5.8 in SL; head long, broad and deep; mouth large, reaching back to below front of eyes; jaws equal; enlarged canines absent from jaws; pyloric caeca reduced to vestiges. Scales absent.

Fins large; anal fin origin slightly behind level of dorsal fin origin; caudal fin emarginate.


To about 20 cm SL, commonly 12-14 cm.


Brown to olive overall with pale-edged dark spots scattered on the back and sides and a dark diagonal bar below the eye. Fins reddish-orange with dark posterior margins.


Adults feed on aquatic insect larvae, and terrestrial insects that fall onto the water surface; larvae feed mainly on microcrustaceans.


Coastal populations in eastern Australia spawn in autumn to winter and the larvae have a marine phase of several months before returning to estuaries at 45-65 mm in spring. Spawning occurs in spring in land-locked populations after an upstream migration to feeder streams with larvae completing their pelagic phase in lakes.

Around 1000-16000 small adhesive eggs are deposited amongst dense submerged vegetation during Autumn. Larvae hatch at 6.5-9.0 mm TL after about 4 weeks, and are swept out to sea. The larvae spend several months in the open ocean before returning as transparent 'whitebait' in Spring.

Populations in southwestern Australia are landlocked and potamodromous. They migrate upstream within rivers to spawn in mid-late autumn, and use downstream lacustrine environments as a nursery before migrating back into the river systems as juveniles.


  • EPBC Act 1999 : Critically Endangered (Western Australian subspecies)
  • The genetically distinct Western Australian population of Galaxias truttaceus is listed as Endangered under the Western Australian Wildlife Conservation Act 1950.
  • Remarks

    Western Australian populations are genetically distinct from those in the eastern states of Australia.


    The specific name truttaceus (= trout-like) is from the Latin trutta (= trout), presumably in reference to Valenciennes seeing the resemblance between this species and a small trout: “ the rounded shape of the body and the arrangement of spots make it look like this fish is a small trout”.

    Species Citation

    Galaxias truttaceus Valenciennes 1846, Histoire Naturelle des Poissons 18: 344, pl. 543. Type locality: Tasmania.


    Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F. 2023


    Atlas of Living Australia

    Spotted Galaxias, Galaxias truttaceus Valenciennes 1846


    Allen, G.R. 1982. Inland Fishes of Western Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 86 pp. 6 figs 20 pls.

    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. 

    Allen, M.G. 2016. Barriers to fish migration in drying climates: contributions from south-western Australia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University, Western Australia. See ref online

    Cadwallader, P.L. & Backhouse, G.N. 1983. A Guide to the Freshwater Fish of Victoria. Melbourne : F.D. Atkinson Government Printer 249 pp. figs.

    Chilcott, S.J. & Humphries, P. 1996. Freshwater fish of northeast Tasmania with notes on the dwarf galaxias. Records of the Queen Victoria Museum, Launceston 103: 145-149

    Close, P.G., Ryan, T.J., Morgan, D.L., Beatty, S.J. & Lawrence, C.S. 2014. First record of ‘climbing’ and ‘jumping’ by juvenile Galaxias truttaceus Valenciennes, 1846 (Galaxiidae) from south-western Australia. Australian Journal of Zoology 62(2): 175-179.

    Colman, J.G. 2010. New records of Galaxias truttaceus (Galaxiidae) in the Kent River catchment, southwestern Australia. Journal of the Royal Society of Western Australia 93(4): 189-193.

    Fulton, W. 1990. Tasmanian freshwater fishes. Fauna of Tasmania Handbook No. 7 Hobart : University of Tasmania, Fauna of Tasmania Committee, in association with the Inland Fisheries Commission of Tasmania 80 pp.

    Hammer, M.P., Adams, M. & Foster, R. 2012. Update to the catalogue of South Australian freshwater fishes (Petromyzontida & Actinopterygii). Zootaxa 3593: 59–74 

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    Humphries, P. 1989. Variation in life history of diadromous and landlocked populations of spotted galaxias Galaxias truttaceus, Valenciennes, in Tasmania. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 40: 501-515,

    Humphries, P. 1990. Morphological variation in diadromous and landlocked populations of the spotted galaxias, Galaxias truttaceus Valenciennes, in Tasmania, south-eastern Australia. Environmental Biology of Fishes 27: 97-105,

    Leggett, R. & Merrick, J.R. 1987. Australian Native Fishes for Aquariums. Artarmon : J.R. Merrick Publications 241 pp. 142 figs.

    Lintermans, M. 2007 Fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin : an introductory guide. Canberra : Murray-Darling Basin Commission, 157 pp.

    McAleer, F.J. 2005. Larval development and ontogenetic changes in the diet of Trout Minnow (Galaxias truttaceus, Valenciennes 1846) in South Western Western Australia Honours Thesis, Murdoch University, Perth.

    McCoy, F. 1867. On the recent zoology and palaeontology of Victoria. pp. 309–330 in, Intercolonial Exhibition of Australia, Melbourne. 1866–67. Melbourne : Blundell. (described as Galaxias ocellatus, type locality Yarra  and Gippsland rivers, Victoria)

    McCoy, F. 1867. XXII.—On the recent Zoology and Palæontology of Victoria. Annals and Magazine of Natural History Ser 3, Vol 20, issue 117: 175-202 (described as Galaxias ocellatus, type locality Yarra  and Gippsland rivers, Victoria) See ref at BHL

    McDowall, R.M. 1994. Families Retropinnidae, Prototroctidae, Galaxiidae. pp. 232-239 figs 207-212 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. 

    McDowall, R.M. 2006. Crying wolf, crying foul, or crying shame: alien salmonids and a biodiversity crisis in the southern cool-temperate galaxioid fishes? Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries 16: 233-422 

    McDowall, R.M. (ed.) 1980. Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed 208 pp., figs, 32 pls. 

    McDowall, R.M. & Frankenberg, R.S. 1981. The galaxiid fishes of Australia. Records of the Australian Museum 33(10): 443-605 figs 1-47 

    McDowall, R.M. & Fulton, W. 1996. Chapter 10. Family Galaxiidae — galaxiids. pp. 52-77 in McDowall, R.M. (ed.) Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Sydney : Reed Books 247 pp.

    Merrick, J.R. & Schmida, G.E. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes Biology and Management. Sydney : J.R. Merrick 409 pp. figs 280 col. figs.

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    Morgan, D.L. & Beatty, S.J. 2006. Use of a vertical-slot fishway by galaxiids in Western Australia. Ecology of Freshwater Fish 15: 500-509.

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    Morgan, D.L., Gill, H.S., Maddern, M.G. & Beatty, S.J. 2004. Distribution and impacts of introduced freshwater fishes in Western Australia. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38: 511-523.

    Morgan, D.L., Gill, H.S. & Potter, I.C. 1998. Distribution, identification and biology of freshwater fishes in south-western Australia. Records of Western Australia Museum Supplement 56: 1-97.

    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. 

    Ovenden, J.R. & White, R.W. 1990. Mitochondrial and allozyme genetics of incipient speciation in a landlocked population of Galaxias truttaceus (Pisces: Galaxiidae). Genetics 124(3): 701–716 See ref online

    Raadik, T.A. 1992. Distribution of freshwater fishes in east Gippsland, Victoria, 1967–1991. Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria 104: 1-22.

    Raadik, T.A. 2006. Chapter 13. Freshwater fishes. pp. 133-148 in Museum Victoria and CSIRO Publishing. Melbourne's Wildlife. A Field Guide to the Fauna of Greater Melbourne. Melbourne : CSIRO Publishing 348 pp. 

    Raadik, T.A. 2008. Family Galaxiidae. pp. 217-222 in Gomon, M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

    Raadik, T.A. 2011. Systematic revision of the Mountain Galaxias, Galaxias olidus Günther, 1866 species complex (Teleostei: Galaxiidae) in eastern Australia. Ph.D thesis, University of Canberra. pp. i-xxiii, 1-493 

    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

    Rowland, F.J., Close, P.G., Beatty, S.J., Allen, M.G., Gill, H.S., Berkelaar, J.S. & Morgan, D.L. 2017. Larval development and dietary ontogeny of a critically endangered galaxiid within a Mediterranean climatic zone of Australia. FiSHMED Fishes in Mediterranean Environments 2017.001: 14 pp. See ref online

    Scott, E.O.G. 1936. Observations on fishes of the family Galaxiidae. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 1935: 85-112 figs 1-4 (described as Galaxias (Galaxias) scopus, type locality: Brackish water stream, Clarke Island, Bass Strait, Tasmania) See ref online

    Shoesmith, D., Romanowksi, N., Briggs, G. & Unmack, P.J. 2020. Fish in focus: Spotted galaxias Galaxias truttaceus (Galaxiidae). Fishes of Sahul 33(4): 1509-1511.

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    Whitley, G.P. 1944. New sharks and fishes from Western Australia. The Australian Zoologist 10(3): 252-273 figs 1-6 (described as Galaxias truttaceus hesperius, type locality Creek flowing to Taylor's Inlet (Nannarup), Albany District, Western Australia) See ref online

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    Quick Facts

    CAAB Code:37102010

    Biology:Diadromous, marine larvae (E AUS)

    Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

    Habitat:Freshwater, marine larvae

    Max Size:20 cm SL


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