Firetail Gudgeon, Hypseleotris galii (Ogilby 1898)

Other Names: Gale's Carp-gudgeon

A Firetail Gudgeon, Hypseleotris galii, from the Clarence River system, Bonalbo, New South Wales. Source: Jason Coughran / FishBase. License: All rights reserved

A small greyish to bronze gudgeon with dark scale margins, especially along the midsides (may appear as a faint midlateral stripe), a silvery belly that appears orange to pink in gravid females, and often a black bar above the pectoral fin base. During the breeding season males may become almost black with intense red-orange fins. Females have transparent fins and a black spot around the anus.

Eastern Water Dragons feeding on Firetail Gudgeons in Sydney, New South Wales.

Video of Firetail Gudgeons in Manly Dam, Sydney.

Firetail Gudgeons in a bait trap.

Cite this page as:
Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2022, Hypseleotris galii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 02 Jul 2022,

Firetail Gudgeon, Hypseleotris galii (Ogilby 1898)

More Info


Known only in eastern Australia from Baffle Creek, Queensland, to Sydney, New South Wales. The species is thought to have been introduced to the Sydney region, and was also introduced to Bolgu Island in the Torres Strait. Inhabits freshwater streams, ponds, swamps and drains, usually around vegetation. 


Meristic features: Dorsal fin VI-VIII; I, 10-12; Anal fin I, 11-13; Caudal fin (segmented rays) 15; Pectoral fin 14-15; Pelvic fin I, 5; Gill rakers 9-12; Vertebrae 29-30.
Head and body distinctly compressed, body moderately slender, tapering toward tail. Males developing slight hump on top of head behind eyes. Mouth small, oblique, reaching to below anterior margin of eye; teeth small in several rows in both jaws. Tongue tip truncate. Gill opening moderately broad, extending forward to below posterior end of preoperculum. Pectoral base narrow, with rays developed ventrally; a free fold of skin extending to upper attachment of opercular membrane above uppermost ray. Head pores absent.
Body scales ctenoid, lateral line absent; longitudinal series 30-32; top of head scaled forward to above posterior half of eye, predorsal scales 8-12; cheeks and gill covers with small cycloid scales, none on snout.
Two dorsal fins; first dorsal with rectangular margin in males, rounded in females; second dorsal higher than first; anterior rays of second dorsal and anal fins elevated, posterior rays elongated in males. Caudal fin truncate to slightly rounded. Pelvic fins separate.


Males to around 5.5 cm SL; females to 4 cm.


Colour varies according to habitat, time of year and age of the individual fish. The colouration of the species varies with age, habitat and season. Body generally grey to bronze or almost black, with a black bar on the side above the pectoral fin base, covering the upper two thirds of base, becoming narrower and paler ventrally; faint stripe from black bar to tail base; scales edge in black; belly paler. Fins clear to dusky; basal two thirds of dorsal and anal fins darer than margins; large fish with dusky bases and reddish orange margins; caudal fin clear to reddish orange.


Feeds mostly on insects, larvae and small crustaceans such as cladocerans and ostracods.


Oviparous, spawning from October to January. Females lay 5-8 batches of 200-440 eggs under stones, leaves or shells. The male parent guards the eggs until the larvae hatch after 3-5 days.


Although the species was at one time thought to have been translocated to Sydney from Queensland by James D. Ogilby (1907), it is native to Sydney.

Species Citation

Carassiops galii Ogilby, 1898, Proc. Linn. Soc. N.S.W. 22(4): 788. Type locality: Botanic Garden ponds, Sydney, NSW.


Gomon, M.F. & Bray, D.J. 2022

Firetail Gudgeon, Hypseleotris galii (Ogilby 1898)


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

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.

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

Larson, H.K. & Hoese, D.F. 1996 in McDowall, R.M. (ed.) Freshwater Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Reed Books. 247 pp.

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

Ogilby, J.D. 1907. Notes on exhibits. Proc. R. Soc. Qld. 20: 27–30.

Pusey B., Kennard M. & Arthington A. 2004. Freshwater Fishes of North-Eastern Australia. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood Australia. 684 pp.

Thacker, C.E., Shelley, J.J., McCraney, W.T. et al. 2022. Phylogeny, diversification, and biogeography of a hemiclonal hybrid system of native Australian freshwater fishes (Gobiiformes: Gobioidei: Eleotridae: Hypseleotris). BMC Ecology and Evolution 22.

Waite, E.R. 1904. A review of the eleotrids of New South Wales. Rec. Aust. Mus. 5(5): 277–286 figs 34–36.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37429025

Habitat:Freshwater streams, ponds

Max Size:5.5 cm SL


Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map