Striped Gudgeon, Gobiomorphus australis (Krefft 1864)

A Striped Gudgeon, Gobiomorphus australis, from the Paynter River near Mt Coolum, Queensland, March 2007. Source: Storm Martin / iNaturalist. License: CC BY Attribution

A rich greenish-brown to dark greyish-brown gudgeon, becoming cream to pale brownish below, usually with 5-7 prominent darker brown stripes along the sides, a prominent dark stripe on the head from the eye to the middle of the pectoral-fin base. Males intensify in colour during the breeding season.

Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2019, Gobiomorphus australis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 01 Mar 2024,

Striped Gudgeon, Gobiomorphus australis (Krefft 1864)

More Info


Endemic to eastern Australia from the Pioneer River near McKay, Queensland, to eastern Victoria, and historically to South Gippsland, near Welshpool, Victoria. Occurs in riverine habitats, from turbulent, rapid-flowing headwaters of streams, to slower-flowing, often muddy, lowland lakes and lagoons. The species mostly occurs in short coastal streams, sometimes just upstream from brackish water. Juveniles are common in estuaries at certain times of the year; usually near submerged rocks, logs and vegetation.


Dorsal fin VI-VIII + I, 8; Anal fin I, 8; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 15; Pectoral fin 14-16; Pelvic fin I, 5; Gill rakers 10-12; Vertebrae 28.
Small, elongate, stout fish; body tapering and compressed posteriorly. Head large; cheeks bulbous; snout rounded. Eyes rather small, high on head near dorsal profile; interorbital narrow, flat. Mouth oblique, upturned, small; reaching to about anterior border of eye; both jaws with bands of small pointed teeth. Lines of minute papillae extend across cheek and operculum, around preopercular margin and from each side of snout to above eye. Preopercular margin with 3-5 large pores.
Body, cheeks and opercula covered with moderate-sized, ciliated scales; top of head with large scales reaching forward to eyes, with several smaller scales between eyes; none on snout. Sides of head completely scaled, but those on cheeks small and not easily seen. Lateral line absent; longitudinal series 30-34.
Two dorsal fins; first rounded and deeply notched between flexible spines; second larger, slightly elongate, posterior rays longest; anal fin opposite and similar to second dorsal fin. Caudal fin large, rounded. Pectoral fins large, broad, rounded. Pelvic fins separate, thoracic, moderate-sized, elongate, pointed. Posterior rays of second dorsal and anal fins, and fourth ray of pelvic fin, longer in males.


To around 18 cm SL, commonly to 12 cm.


Rich chocolate-brown to dark grey dorsally, merging to cream or grey ventrally; usually with 5-7 prominent dark stripes on sides from behind pectoral fin to tail base, stripes darker on midside but vary in intensity; prominent stripe from eye to pectoral base, generally faint on gill covers; sometimes very faint stripe above and below stripe; dark stripe from front of eye to tip of snout; a dark spot dorsally on pectoral base, thin oblique line ventrally, and distinct white bar across fin base. Fins with chestnut spots, first dorsal with 2 rows, second with 4-6 rows; caudal fin with 6-10 vertical rows forming wavy vertical bands. Anal, pectoral and pelvic fins yellowish to grey, sometimes with faint grey or purple bands. More colourful in breeding season, with greenish gold background laterally, yellow in paler areas, and small violet or purplish spots over much of body.


Feeds on a variety of aquatic invertebrates, molluscs and crustaceans, with larger individuals also consuming small fishes.


Individuals mature at 6-7.5 cm in length and spawning occurs during late summer to early autumn, at about 21°C. Eggs are laid in a uniform, compact, single layer on solid surfaces such as rocks and logs. The male parent guards and fans the nest until the larvae hatch after about four days. The newly-hatched, free-swimming larvae are carried downstream to estuaries.


Striped Gudgeons have good climbing abilities and can negotiate wet rocky surfaces around rapids and waterfalls.

Species Citation

Eleotris australis Krefft, 1864, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond. 1864(2): 183. Type locality: Creeks near Sydney, Hawkesbury River and its tributaries, Hunter River, and Clarence River, Australia (syntypes).


Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Striped Gudgeon, Gobiomorphus australis (Krefft 1864)


Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Neptune, New Jersey : T.F.H. Publications 240 pp., 63 pls.

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

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

Cashner, R.C., Hawkes, G.P., Gartside, D.F. & Marsh-Matthews, E. 1999. Fishes of the Nymboida, Mann and Orara Rivers of the Clarence River Drainage, New South Wales, Australia. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 121: 89-100.

Hoese, D.F., Larson, H.K. & Llewellyn, L.C. 1980. Family Eleotridae: gudgeons. pp. 169-185 19 figs in McDowall, R.M. (ed.) Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed 208 pp., figs, 32 pls.

Johnson, J. 1993. Fishes of the Brisbane River. Fishes of Sahul, Journal of the Australian New Guinea Fishes Association 8(1): 347-352.

Kuiter, R.H. 2013. Pictorial guide to Victoria's freshwater fishes. Seaford, Victoria : Aquatic Photographics, 178 pp.

Krefft, G. 1864. Notes on Australian freshwater fishes, and descriptions of four new species. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 1864(2): 182-184. See ref at BHL

Lake, J.S. 1978. Australian Freshwater Fishes. Melbourne : Thomas Nelson 160 pp. 140 figs.

Larson, H.K. & Hoese, D.F. 1996. Family Gobiidae, subfamilies Eleotridinae and Butinae. pp. 200-219 in McDowall, R.M. (ed.) Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Sydney : Reed Books 247 pp.

McCulloch, A.R. & Ogilby, J.D. 1919. Some Australian fishes of the family Gobiidae. Records of the Australian Museum 12(10): 193-291 figs 31-37 (as Mogurnda australis)

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

Ogilby, J.D. 1897. On some Australian Eleotrinae. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 21(4): 725-757 (as Krefftius australis)

Pusey, B.J., Kennard, M.J. & Arthington, A.H. 2004. Freshwater Fishes of North-eastern Australia. Collingwood, Victoria : CSIRO Publishing 684 pp.

Pusey, B.J., Kennard, M.J. & Bird, J. 2000. Fishes of the dune fields of Cape Flattery, northern Queensland and other dune systems in north-eastern Australia. Ichthyological Explorations of Freshwater 11(1): 65-74.

Unmack, P.J. 2001. Biogeography of Australian freshwater fishes. Journal of Biogeography 28: 1053-1089.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37429020

Conservation:VIC Near Threatened

Habitat:Freshwater streams

Max Size:20 cm TL


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