Species Profile and Threats Database

For information to assist proponents in referral, environmental assessments and compliance issues, refer to the Policy Statements and Guidelines (where available), the Conservation Advice (where available) or the Listing Advice (where available).
In addition, proponents and land managers should refer to the Recovery Plan (where available) or the Conservation Advice (where available) for recovery, mitigation and conservation information.

EPBC Act Listing Status Listed as Endangered
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan required, this species had a recovery plan in force at the time the legislation provided for the Minister to decide whether or not to have a recovery plan (19/2/2007).
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans Recovery Plan: Tasmanian Galaxiidae 2006-2010 (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2006k) [Recovery Plan].
Policy Statements and Guidelines Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened fish. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.4 (Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC), 2011i) [Admin Guideline].
Federal Register of
    Legislative Instruments
Declaration under s178, s181, and s183 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 - List of threatened species, List of threatened ecological communities and List of threatening processes (Commonwealth of Australia, 2000) [Legislative Instrument].
State Government
    Documents and Websites
TAS:Galaxias johnstoni (Clarence Galaxias): Species Management Profile for Tasmania's Threatened Species Link (Threatened Species Section (TSS), 2014sn) [State Action Plan].
TAS:Listing Statement Clarence Galaxias Galaxias johnstoni (Threatened Species Unit, 1998c) [Information Sheet].
State Listing Status
TAS: Listed as Endangered (Threatened Species Protection Act 1995 (Tasmania): September 2012 list)
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Critically Endangered (Global Status: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2013.1 list)
Scientific name Galaxias johnstoni [26184]
Family Galaxiidae:Salmoniformes:Actinopterygii:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Scott, 1936
Infraspecies author  
Distribution map Species Distribution Map

This is an indicative distribution map of the present distribution of the species based on best available knowledge. See map caveat for more information.

Illustrations Google Images

The Clarence Galaxias is a dark greyish-black fish growing up to 14 cm, but commonly reaches about 7.5 cm long, with an olive to silvery coloured lower side and belly, distinct irregular brownish bars and blotches on the side, and clear fins (Allen 1989; McDowall 1996).

The Clarence Galaxias is an endemic Tasmanian species known to occur in several lagoons, marshes and streams in the upper Derwent catchment (including the Clarence, Nive and Little R. subcatchments) (Crook & Sanger 1997; J. Jackson, pers. comm.). It does not co-occur with any other galaxiids (J. Jackson, pers. comm.). All known sites are outside the maximum extent of ice at the Last Glacial Maximum as mapped by Kiernan (1999). As Brown Trout Salmo trutta were introduced into the Derwent R. catchment prior to the discovery of this species, the original distribution of the Clarence Galaxias is unknown. However, the collection of specimens from the lower Clarence R. catchment in the 1930's shows that the species was more widely distributed in the recent past than it is at present (Crook & Sanger 1997).

Described by Scott in 1936 from specimens collected from Brown Marsh Ck (Sanger & Fulton 1991).

This species is found in both still and flowing waters. It is probably a benthic dwelling species and is both solitary and secretive (McDowall 1980a), darting for cover under boulders if disturbed (Allen 1989a). In the Clarence Lagoon, it inhabits the rocky margin, its outlet stream, and several tributaries that flow into the lake (Allen 1989a). Within its current range adults occupy stream, marsh and lake habitats. The variety of habitat types occupied shows that this species is not highly selective in its habitat requirements. However, requirements for spawning and/or larval development may be more specific (Crook & Sanger 1997).

A spawning migration into an inflowing creek was observed in one population (Sanger & Fulton 1991).

This species feeds on small invertebrates, mainly arthropods and aquatic insect larvae (Andrews 1976). In lacustrine (lake) environments, it preys heavily on aquatic crustaceans. Adults eat benthic crustaceans, while juveniles eat mainly planktonic crustaceans and terrestrial insects (Sanger & Fulton 1991).

Unlike many galaxiids, there is no marine stage in the lifecycle of this species (McDowall 1980a; J. Jackson, pers. comm.). Gonadal development begins in the autumn of the second year (Crook & Sanger 1998b) and spawning takes place in the spring month of September (Frankenberg 1969 [Andrews 1976]; Sanger 1989) following a migration into an inflowing creek (Sanger & Fulton 1991). Females produce approximately 300-2000 eggs of 1.2-1.6 mm diameter (Crook & Sanger 1998b). In Wentworth Hills lagoon, this species was found to have spawned among rocks around the lake margins, and particularly in inflowing creeks (Sanger 1989). Large numbers of adhesive eggs were discovered deposited beneath rocks in the stream. There was strong evidence for mass spawnings as the egg masses contained many more eggs than could have been laid by a single female (Sanger & Fulton 1991). Eggs take up to two months to hatch (Sanger & Fulton 1991). It has a relatively brief larval stage (two months) between hatching and recruitment into the main population (Sanger 1989; Sanger & Fulton 1991). Larvae have been observed swimming in open water in small schools (Crook & Sanger 1997). There are normally at least four age classes present in large populations, suggesting that the longevity is at least four years (Sanger & Fulton 1991).

The following table lists known and perceived threats to this species. Threats are based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) threat classification version 1.1.

Threat Class Threatening Species References
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Oncorhynchus mykiss (Rainbow Trout) Endangered Fish Study. Newsletter of the Inland Fisheries Commission of Tasmania. 18(2):4. (Sanger, A.C., 1989) [Journal].
Conservation of Endangered Species of Tasmanian Freshwater Fish. Occasional Report 91-01. Page(s) 29. (Sanger, A.C. & W. Fulton, 1991) [Report].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Salmo trutta (Brown Trout) Recovery Plan for the Pedder, Swan, Clarence, Swamp and Saddled Galaxias - 1999-2004 (Crook, D. & A. Sanger, 1997) [State Recovery Plan].

Allen, G.R. (1989a). Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Brookvale, NSW: T.F.H. Publications.

Andrews, A.P. (1976). A Revision of the Family Galaxiidae (Pisces) in Tasmania. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 27:297-349.

Australian Fish Collection Records (undated). Collation of records from Australian Fish Collections.

Crook, D. & A. Sanger (1997). Recovery Plan for the Pedder, Swan, Clarence, Swamp and Saddled Galaxias - 1999-2004. [Online]. TAS Inland Fisheries Commission. Available from:

Crook, D. & A. Sanger (1998b). Threatened Fishes of the world: Galaxias johnstoni Scott, 1936 (Galaxiidae). Environmental Biology of Fishes. 53:154.

Frankenberg, R.S. (1969). Studies on the evolution of galaxiid fishes with particular reference to the Australian fauna. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Melbourne.

Fulton, W. (1990). Tasmanian Freshwater Fishes. Page(s) 80. Uni. Tasmania, Hobart.

Jackson, J. (1998). Native Fish News. Newsletter of the Inland Fisheries Commission of Tasmania. 27(2):5.

Jackson, J. (2002). Personal communication.

Kiernan, K. (1999). The southern margin of the Late Cainozoic ice cap on the Central Plateau of Tasmania. Australian Geographer. 30: 5-33.

McDowall, R.M. (1980a). Family Galaxiidae Galaxiids. In: McDowall, R.M., ed. Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Page(s) 55-69. Sydney, NSW: Reed Books.

McDowall, R.M. ed (1996). Freshwater Fishes of South-Eastern Australia rev. edn. Chatswood, NSW: Reed Books.

Sanger, A.C. (1989). Endangered Fish Study. Newsletter of the Inland Fisheries Commission of Tasmania. 18(2):4.

Sanger, A.C. & W. Fulton (1991). Conservation of Endangered Species of Tasmanian Freshwater Fish. Occasional Report 91-01. Page(s) 29. Final Report by Inland Fisheries Commission to WWF. Tasmanian Inland Fisheries Commission, Hobart.

Threatened Species Unit (1998c). Listing Statement Clarence Galaxias Galaxias johnstoni. [Online]. Parks & Wildlife Service, Tasmania. Available from:

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This database is designed to provide statutory, biological and ecological information on species and ecological communities, migratory species, marine species, and species and species products subject to international trade and commercial use protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act). It has been compiled from a range of sources including listing advice, recovery plans, published literature and individual experts. While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of the information, no guarantee is given, nor responsibility taken, by the Commonwealth for its accuracy, currency or completeness. The Commonwealth does not accept any responsibility for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the information contained in this database. The information contained in this database does not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth. This database is not intended to be a complete source of information on the matters it deals with. Individuals and organisations should consider all the available information, including that available from other sources, in deciding whether there is a need to make a referral or apply for a permit or exemption under the EPBC Act.

Citation: Department of the Environment (2014). Galaxias johnstoni in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: Accessed Thu, 24 Jul 2014 23:41:24 +1000.