Museum Victoria Home Forest Secrets Home
link to homelink to waterlink to earthlink to climatelink to firelink to humanslink to plantslink to animallink to observationslink to learning
Broad-finned Galaxias

Broad-finned Galaxias

Broad-finned Galaxias
Broad-finned Galaxias
Photographer - Rudie H. Kuiter
Source - Aquatic Photographics

Galaxias brevipinnis

Also known as the 'Climbing Galaxias', this migratory species is renowned for its ability to scale vertical waterfalls and damp rock faces tens of metres high, on its way to the fast-flowing mountain streams it inhabits as an adult. The large paired fins facing downward on the undersurface of their body are used to adhere to steep rock surfaces as individuals wriggle upwards in a lizard-like fashion.

This is a secretive fish, which shelters in the lea of boulders or snags to escape the power of torrential mountain waters. Feeding mainly on bottom-dwelling insects, it will take invertebrates from the surface if the opportunity arises.

Adults breed during the autumn and winter, the hatchlings washed downstream and eventually to the sea, and occasionally well away from the coast. Here they remain and feed until spring when they join the upstream migration of Spotted Galaxias and Common Jollytail whitebait juveniles as they move back toward the preferred habitats of their parents.

The capacity for seagoing larvae to move around is indicated by the presence of this species well away from Australia, including New Zealand and nearby islands. Its patchy distribution along the south-eastern Australian coast reflects the limited and constantly deteriorating availability of the high quality clear water habitat it requires.

Known to reach nearly 28 cm, it more commonly attains a length of 15-17 cm, still the largest species of the family in south-eastern Australia.

© Museum Victoria Australia