Southern purple-spotted gudgeon (Mogurnda adspersa)

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Southern purple-spotted gudgeon - Mogurnda adspersa

The southern purple-spotted gudgeon, scientifically known as Mogurnda adspersa, is a species of endangered gudgeon that is endemic to southeastern mainland Australia.

It is a purplish-brown to yellowish-brown fish with a rounded head and a small mouth. It has dark spots and blotches on its body and fins. It can grow up to 12 cm in length, but usually reaches about 6 cm. It feeds on small aquatic animals and plants, and prefers to live in dense reeds or other vegetation.

Conservation status

The southern purple-spotted gudgeon was once widespread and abundant in the Murray-Darling Basin, but its population declined drastically due to habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation, as well as predation and competition from introduced species. It was declared extinct in Victoria in 1998, and is listed as endangered nationally.

In 2019, two individuals of the southern purple-spotted gudgeon were found near Kerang, sparking hope for the recovery of the species. [1]

A captive breeding programme was formed to breed an “insurance” population of the fish in captivity and release them into pest-free wetlands in the wild. The first eggs hatched on New Year’s Day 2023, and nine months later, the first batch of fish was released into McLartys Lagoon, a natural wetland on the mid-Goulburn River. Other populations have been released in different wetlands in Victoria.[1]

The release of the southern purple-spotted gudgeon coincided with National Threatened Species Day on September 7, which aims to raise awareness and action for endangered wildlife in Australia.[1]