Well, you may have noticed the site has been really quiet of late. I have been busy with tourists, Bush Blitz and getting a bunch of fish photos while the dry season here in Darwin hangs on. Not long now and the rains will return and make access impossible to many areas. So let’s have a look at some of the fish I have been encountering in my travels. I’ll start with recent fish from the Finniss region west of Darwin:The first is this tiny little rainbowfish – the Macculloch’s or Dwarf rainbowfish. This species is found in patches of northeastern Australia, PNG and one tiny part of the NT, where the local variety is very small and unusually coloured. They sport a pale colour overlaid with black stripes and a red throat. The fin tips are white with a dark submarginal band and a greenish base. This variety is found in extremely shallow water in spring fed swamps.
Most anglers of northern Australia are familiar with Archerfish- the fish with the awesome ability to weaponize water – shooting a well aimed jet from their mouths at insects, frogs and lizards in the vegetation above. This is the Primitive archerfish, one rarely seen or noticed. Juveniles have tiger stripes and together with adults are found in freshwater lagoons and rivers with lots of overhanging trees. Like the other archerfish species, the Primitive can spit water, though it is not as well adapted as the other species.
Found only in the hard alkaline rivers of the limestone country is this neat little fish. The Blackmast has a tall black and yellow dorsal fin. Feeding mostly on algae and small invertebrates it is a fast swimming species that forms large schools. Delicate and difficult to keep in the aquarium it is spectacular nonetheless.
Snorkeling in one of the waterfalls I was pleased to find this giant gudgeon guarding a clutch of eggs. This species is often called the “sleepy cod”, a name that belongs to a closely related species (Oxyeleotris lineolata). Ambush predators, they sit and wait for something to swim by, darting out in a flash. This one was about 40cm long.
Glassfish are common in many of the northern rivers. This variety is not yet named but it is common in the Finniss. Glassfish are predators, feeding on small aquatic animals.