Little Pygmy Perch, Nannoperca pygmaea Morgan, Beatty & Adams 2013

A Little Pygmy Perch, Nannoperca pygmaea, from the Mitchell River, Western Australia. Source: David Morgan / Murdoch University. License: All rights reserved

A very small pygmy perch found only in the Hay and Mitchell river systems of south Western Australia. This species may be Australia's rarest freshwater fish.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Nannoperca pygmaea in Fishes of Australia, accessed 07 Apr 2020,

Little Pygmy Perch, Nannoperca pygmaea Morgan, Beatty & Adams 2013

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Found only in the Hay River and Mitchell River systems of the south west coast of Western Australia. The Little Pygmy Perch inhabits shallow tannin stained, acidic streams with the paperbark Melaleuca rhaphiophylla.

Similar Species

Differs from Nannoperca vittata in having  of thin stripes on the lower sides, generally fewer dorsal-fin and anal-fin rays, a more pronounced spot (ocellus) surrounded by a halo at the termination of the caudal peduncle, and in lacking dark pigment on the underside before the anus and having no distinct pigment on the hind margin of the scales on the caudal peduncle.

Differs from Nannoperca australis, N. oxleyana and N. variegata in having an exposed and serrated preorbital bone and jaws that may just reach to below the anterior margin of the eye, versus a smooth and hidden preorbital and the jaws reaching to at least below the pupil.

Differs from Nannatherina balstoni in having an exposed rear edge of the preorbital (vs. hidden under skin), fewer transverse scale rows (13 vs. 15–16), a small mouth (rarely reaching eye vs. reaching well beyond eye), ctenoid (vs. cycloid) body scales, generally fewer pectoral rays and smaller maximum size. (Morgan et al. 2013)


The species name pygmaea is from the Latin pygmaeus meaning 'dwarf' in reference to this being the smallest pygmy perch species.

Species Citation

Nannoperca pygmaea Morgan, Beatty & Adams 2013, Zootaxa 3637(4): 3, Fig. 2A. Type locality: Hay River, Western Australia, 34°53.28'S, 117°29.45'E.


Bray, D.J. 2019

Little Pygmy Perch, Nannoperca pygmaea Morgan, Beatty & Adams 2013


Buckley, S.J., Domingos, F.M.C.B., Attard, C.R.M., Brauer, C.J., Sandoval-Castillo, J., Lodge, R., Unmack, P.J. & Beheregaray, L.B. 2018. Phylogenomic history of enigmatic pygmy perches: implications for biogeography, taxonomy and conservation. Royal Society Open Science

Morgan, D.L., S.J. Beatty & M. Adams. 2013. Nannoperca pygmaea, a new species of pygmy perch (Teleostei: Percichthyidae) from Western Australia. Zootaxa 3637(4): 401–411. (Abstract)

Quick Facts


Max Size:4 cm SL


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