Biodiversity

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
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Melanotaenia eachamensis (Lake Eacham Rainbowfish) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2012b) [Conservation Advice].
 
Commonwealth Listing Advice on Melanotaenia eachamensis (Lake Eacham Rainbowfish) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee (TSSC), 2012c) [Listing Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
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].
 
Non-statutory Listing Status
IUCN: Listed as Vulnerable (IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: 2011.2)
Scientific name Melanotaenia eachamensis [26185]
Family Melanotaeniidae:Atheriniformes:Actinopterygii:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Allen & Cross, 1982
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
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
http://members.optushome.com.au/chelmon/Eacham.htm

The Lake Eacham Rainbowfish is a small silvery or bluish fish growing to 6.5 cm, with orange stripes on the sides, a faint blackish stripe along the middle of the sides, and clear to yellowish orange fins (Allen 1989a).

This species was reported to be abundant in L. Eacham on the Atherton Tableland N Qld., where it was originally thought to be confined (Allen & Cross 1982).

Research utilising DNA sequencing by Zhu et al. (1994) conclusively demonstrated that M. eachamensis was a valid species and distinct from the common and widely distributed M. splendida splendida. Using mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) sequencing techniques, Zhu et al. (1994, 1998) demonstrated that M. eachamensis and M. splendida splendida are distantly related, with mDNA from the former being more closely related to those of a WA taxon, M. splendida australis.

The presence of the Lake Eacham Rainbowfish in additional creeks and rivers (including the Barron R., Johnstone R. catchment, upper reaches of the Tully R. and its tributaries, and the Herbert R. catchment) in the Atherton Tablelands has now been confirmed through DNA sequencing (Pusey et al. 1997; Zhu et al. 1998).

The Dirran Ck (N Johnstone R. catchment) and L. Euramoo populations were identified as being the purest stocks of the species (Zhu et al. 1998) and appear to be the most important to preserve. Other stocks in surrounding creeks are morphologically variable and may be the result of hybridisation between M. eachamensis and M. splendida splendida (Pusey et al. 1997). Sympatry is common in the Johnstone R. drainage basin, although in most of the sites sampled by Pusey et al. (1997), M. eachamensis was the numerically dominant rainbowfish.

The Lake Eacham Rainbowfish occurs in slow to moderately-flowing streams, especially smaller tributaries. It is also found around the vegetated margins of lakes and reservoirs. The species prefers sunlit margins of streams with abundant cover such as log snags and aquatic plants and also forms schools near the surface of rocky pools (G.R. Allen 2000, pers. comm.).

This species was originally found in clear, shallow water along the shoreline of L. Eacham. It was particularly abundant around docks, submerged logs and branches, and among aquatic vegetation. The water temperature of the lake ranged from 23-27°C and the pH was 7.0 (Allen & Cross 1982). Recently discovered populations of this species suggest that it should be considered a stream-dwelling species, though a significant lacustrine population was detected. This species only occurred above an elevation of 80 m asl within the Johnstone R. drainage basin. In the Tully R. drainage it was restricted to upstream reaches located at over 700 m elevation (Pusey et al. 1997).

In the wild it is assumed that this species feeds opportunistically on algae, aquatic invertebrates and terrestrial insects (Tappin 1991).

Breeding sizes are reported to be 5.5 cm and 6 cm for females and males, respectively (Leggett & Merrick 1987). Males will spawn and maintain breeding activity at 20°C, but intensive breeding begins at 27°C (Tappin 1991). It has been noted that females spawned 30-50 eggs per day depending on their body size (Campbell 1985). Like those of other rainbowfishes, the eggs are initially clear and adhere by tiny filaments to the spawning medium (Tappin 1991). Eggs are produced over several days and development of eggs takes six to seven days at 26°C (Leggett & Merrick 1987; Tappin 1991). Larvae hatched after 10 days at water temperatures of 26°C (Campbell 1985).

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
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Melanotaenia eachamensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006or) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation by fish Implication of translocated fishes in the apparent extinction in the wild of the Lake Eacham Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia eachamensis. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 38:897-902. (Barlow, C.G, A.E. Hogan & L.J. Rodgers, 1987) [Journal].
Ecological studies on the freshwater fishes of the Alligator Rivers Region, Northern Territory: Autecology. Supervising Scientist Report 145. (Bishop, K.A., S.A. Allen, D.A. Pollard & M.G. Cook, 2001) [Report].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Problematic Native Species:Competition, predation and/or habitat degradation by fish Melanotaenia eachamensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006or) [Internet].
Natural System Modifications:Dams and Water Management/Use:Alteration of hydrological regimes and water quality Melanotaenia eachamensis in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006or) [Internet].

Allen, G. R. (1989b). Lake Eacham rainbowfish rediscovered?. Fishes of Sahul (Journal of the Australia New Guinea Fishes Association). 5 (3):217-219.

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

Allen, G.R. (2000). Personal communication.

Allen, G.R. & N.J. Cross (1982). Rainbowfishes of Australia and Papua New Guinea. Page(s) 141. Angus and Robertson, Sydney.

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

Barlow, C.G, A.E. Hogan & L.J. Rodgers (1987). Implication of translocated fishes in the apparent extinction in the wild of the Lake Eacham Rainbowfish, Melanotaenia eachamensis. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 38:897-902.

Bishop, K.A., S.A. Allen, D.A. Pollard & M.G. Cook (2001). Ecological studies on the freshwater fishes of the Alligator Rivers Region, Northern Territory: Autecology. Supervising Scientist Report 145. Supervising Scientist, Darwin.

Campbell. R. (1985). Melanotaenia eachamensis. Fishes of Sahul. Journal of the Australia New Guinea Fishes Association. 2, No.3:81.

Crowley, L.E.L.M. & W. Ivantsoff (1991). Genetic similarity among populations of rainbowfishes (Pisces: Melanotaeniidae) from Atherton Tableland, Northern Queensland. Ichthyological Exploration of Freshwaters. 2, No. 2:129-137.

Gleeson, D.J., H.I. McCallum & I.P.F. Owens (2000). Differences in initial and acquired resistance to Ichthyophthirius multifiliis between populations of rainbowfish. Journal of Fish Biology. 57:466-475.

Ingram, B.A., C.G. Barlow, J.J. Burchmore, G.J. Gooley, S.J. Rowland & A.C. Sanger (1990). Threatened native freshwater fishes in Australia - some case histories. Journal of Fish Biology. 37:175-182.

Leggett, R. & J.R. Merrick (1987). Australian Native Fishes For Aquariums. Merrick, Sydney.

Pusey, B.J., J. Bird, M.J. Kennard & A.H. Arthington (1997). Distribution of the Lake Eacham Rainbowfish in the Wet Tropics Region, North Queensland. Australian Journal of Zoology. 45:75-84.

Ruello, N.V. (1976). Observations on some massive fish kills in Lake Eyre. Australian Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 24 (4):667-672.

Tappin, A.R. (1991). Keeping and breeding the "extinct" rainbowfish Melanotaenia eachamensis. ANGFA Bulletin (Bulletin of the Australia New Guinea Fishes Association). 10:3-4.

Wager, R. & P. Jackson (1993). The Action Plan For Australian Freshwater Fishes. Canberra, ACT: Australian Nature Conservation Agency.

Zhu, D., B.G.M. Jamieson, A. Hugall & C. Moritz (1994). Sequence evolution and phylogenetic signal in control-region and cytochrome b sequences of rainbowfishes (Melanotaeniidae). Molecular Biology and Evolution. 11:672-683.

Zhu, D., S. Degnan & C. Moritz (1998). Evolutionary Distinctiveness and Status of the Endangered Lake Eacham Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia eachamensis). Conservation Biology. 12, No.1:80-93.

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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). Melanotaenia eachamensis in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Sat, 19 Apr 2014 20:45:27 +1000.