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 Vulnerable as Mogurnda clivicola
Listing and Conservation Advices Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Mogurnda clivicola (Flinders Ranges Gudgeon) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008cx) [Conservation Advice].
 
Recovery Plan Decision Recovery Plan not required, included on the Not Commenced List (1/11/2009).
 
Adopted/Made Recovery Plans
Other EPBC Act Plans Recovery plan for the community of native species dependent on natural discharge of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin (Fensham, R.J., W.F. Ponder & R.J. Fairfax, 2010) [Recovery Plan] as Mogurnda clivicola.
 
Threat Abatement Plan for competition and land degradation by unmanaged goats (Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA), 2008ada) [Threat Abatement 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] as Mogurnda n. sp..
 
Amendment to the list of threatened species under section 178 of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (11/04/2007) (Commonwealth of Australia, 2007f) [Legislative Instrument] as Mogurnda clivicola.
 
State Government
    Documents and Websites
SA:Action plan for South Australian freshwater fishes (Hammer M., S. Wedderburn & J. Van Weenen, 2009) [State Action Plan].
Non-statutory Listing Status
SA: Listed as Critically Endangered (Action Plan for South Australian Freshwater Fishes 2009 list)
Scientific name Mogurnda clivicola [66693]
Family Eleotridae:Perciformes:Actinopterygii:Chordata:Animalia
Species author Allen & Jenkins, 1999
Infraspecies author  
Reference  
Other names Mogurnda n. sp. [66677]
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://www.desertfishes.org/australia/fish/mogucliv.shtml

Scientific name: Mogurnda clivicola

Common name: Flinders Ranges Mogurnda

Other names: Flinders Ranges Gudgeon, Flinders Mogurnda, Flinders Ranges Purple Spotted Gudgeon, Barcoo Mogurnda, Bulloo Mogurnda, Wirti Udla Varri

The Flinders Ranges Mogurnda is a robust freshwater fish growing to a maximum length of 13–15 cm (Brandle 2001; Hammer et al. 2009cu; Unmack 2000), though most individuals only grow to 5–8 cm in length (Hammer et al. 2009cu). The tail fin is rounded, and the species has two separate dorsal (back) fins, a brown to dark blue back surface, and blue and rust-coloured spotting on the sides of the body (Brandle 2001; Hammer et al. 2009cu).

The Flinders Ranges Mogurnda occurs in two locations: Balcanoona Creek in South Australia and Barcoo River in Queensland (Adams et al. 2013).

In South Australia, the species occurs along approximately 4 km of the Balcanoona Creek and its tributary (Wetootla Creek) in the Vulkathunha (previously Gammon Ranges) National Park, in the north-east Flinders Ranges (Allen 1989a; Ehmann 2009; McNeil et al. 2011; Wager & Jackson 1993). The species is abundant in the Weetootla Spring (McNeil et al. 2011). A translocated population occurs along 750 m of the Nepouie Springs in the Nepouie Creek (Ehmann 2009; McNeil et al. 2011), east of Balcanoona Creek.

In Queensland, there are records of the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda in a very small stretch of the upper Barcoo River (Unmack 2000) that have been positively identified based on molecular analysis (Adams et al. 2013). There are also records from the Bulloo River at Tobermory Station in south-west Queensland (Allen & Jenkins 1999) and these are possibly the species given their proximity to Barcoo River (Adams et al. 2013).

Surveys for the species have been conducted as part of the Assessment of Endemic Fish (Mogurnda clivicola) and native vegetation at springs in the northern Flinders Ranges (McNeill et al. 2011).

The population of Flinders Ranges Mogurnda in the Flinders Ranges is estimated at approximately 3530 individuals (McNeil et al. 2011). The following is a summary of known populations in the area (McNeil et al. 2011).

Population Number of individuals Land tenure Population information
Weetootla Creek 1269–3290 Vulkathunha National Park All age class present
Nepouie Spring 74–240 Wooltana Station pastoral lease All age classes present though less females in larger size classes

No data is available on the Queensland populations.

The Balcanoona and Weetootla Creeks occur in the Vulkathunha (previously Gammon Ranges) National Park.

In the Flinders Ranges, the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda utilises bottom and mid-water levels (Ehmann 2009) of small isolated freshwater waterholes in rocky creeks, and spring-fed pools in streams flowing through steep-sided valleys (Allen & Jenkins 1999; Wager & Jackson 1993). Sites have high levels of edging and submerged cover in the form of rocks, snags, leaf litter and bark from surrounding trees (Hammer et al. 2009cu). It is the only fish found in these sites (Unmack 2000).

The Flinders Ranges Mogurnda is reliant on the springs of Weetootla and Nepouie for permanent habitat and utilises other ephemeral (not lasting) areas when rainfall increases surface water flows (Hammer et al. 2009cu; McNeil et al. 2011). Vegetation characteristics of these sites are summarised in the following table (McNeill et al. 2011).

Site Aquatic vegetation Surrounding vegetation Weed species Comments
Weetootla Spring Spiny Flat-Sedge (Cyperus gymnocaulos); other Cyperus spp.; Billabong Rush (Juncus usitatus), Water Cress (Rorippa nasturtium-aquacticum); Narrow-leaved;Cumbungi (Typha domingensis). River Red Gum (Eucalyptus camaldulensis); Native Orange (Capparis mitchelli); Desert Tea-tree (Melaleuca glomerata); Elegant Wattle (Acacia victoriae); Dodonaea lobulata; Shrubby Rice-flower (Pimelea microcephala); Eremophila spp.; Desert Chinese Lantern (Abutilon leucopetalum); Black Crumbweed (Chenopodium melanocarpum); Australian Bindweed (Convolvulus remotus); Native Thornapple (Datura leichhardtii); Ruby Saltbush (Enchylaena tormentosa var. tormentosa); Cockspur Flower (Plectranthus parviflorus); Silver Mulla Mulla (Ptilotus obovatus var. obovatus); Rock Sida (Sida petrophila); Cattlebush (Trichodesma zeylanicum); Zygophyllum spp. Rosy Dock (Acetosa vesicaria);
Spiked Malvastrum (Malvastrum americanum); Black-berry Nightshade (Solanum nigrum); Common Sowthistle (Sonchus oleraceus).
Permanent; no invasive species noted; only five non-significant weed species present; low grazing by kangaroos (Macropod spp.); shallow pools, deep pools, riffles and marshes present.
Nepouie Spring Narrow-leaved Cumbungi; Spiny Flat-Sedge. River Red Gum; Native Orange; Desert Tea-tree; Rock Sida; Senna spp.; Desert Lantern (Abutilon otocarpum); Tarvine (Boerhavia dominii); Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon ambiguous); Native Thornapple; Ruby Saltbush; Nicotiana velutina; Silver Mulla Mulla; Tomato Bush (Solanum quadriloculatum); Native Spinach (Tetragonia tetragonoides); Solanum spp. Fat-hen (Chenopodium album); Spiked Malvastrum. Permanent; no invasive species noted; only two non-significant weeds species; shallow pools, deep pools, riffles and marshes present; low grazing pressure.

The possible Barcoo River population inhabits a mud-bottomed, lowland creek where it co-exists with approximately ten other fish species (Unmack 2000).
The distribution of this species overlaps with the Community of native species dependent on natural discharge of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin, which is listed as Endangered ecological community under the EPBC Act (Fensham et al. 2010a).

Adults are known to have a lifespan of up to five years (Hammer et al. 2009cu).

Many Mogurnda species follow similar breeding patterns of spawning in the warmer spring-summer period, when temperatures are over 20°C and food is more abundant (Tappin 2011; Unmack 2000). McNeill and colleagues (2011) noted that, in the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda, spawning occurred in May, although water temperatures were still greater than 20°C at the site. Spawning in the species is not associated with rainfall or flood events (McNeill et al. 2011) as with others of the genus (Tapin 2011), and the springs of Weetootla and Nepouie are the only waterbodies in the Flinders Ranges to provide consistently higher temperatures that are required for spawning (McNeill et al. 2011).

Males prepare a site in which females lay between 200 (Unmack 2000) to 1300 (Tappin 2003) round to capsular (McNeil et al. 2011) transparent eggs, which the males then fertilise. Eggs are usually laid as a circular cluster, on the underside of a hard object (Tappin 2011; Unmack 2000) and (Tappin 2011). The male guards the eggs until they hatch in approximately seven days (dependant on temperatures). Fry (small, recently hatched fish) are approximately 5 mm long with limited swimming ability. Parental care after hatching is said to be minimal (Tappin 2011; Unmack 2000), however McNeil and colleagues (2011) observed a male actively chasing other fish away from young at Weetootla Spring.

Juveniles reach full maturity and colouration at around five to six months of age (Tappin 2011) or approximately 6–7 cm in length (Hammer et al. 2009cu). Young fish are more elongate than adults and become stouter as they grow (Tappin 2011). Upon reaching maturity, the species is said to be territorial and more cryptic than juveniles who, in contrast to the adults, utilise surface waters (Hammer et al. 2009cu).

Mogurnda species, including the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda, are kept as aquarium fish and are said to easily bred in captivity throughout the year if given suitable conditions (Tappin 2011).

The species is most likely an ambush predator, feeding on aquatic insects and microcrustaceans (Unmack 2000). Whilst the specific diet of the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda is not known, they have been observed consuming Caddisfly (Order Trichoptera) larvae and to take tadpoles added to pools (McNeil et al. 2011). Other members of the genus are opportunistic, consuming worms, tadpoles, shrimp and small fish (including their own species) as well as the introduced species Gambusia (Gambusia holbrooki). They are also known to consume algae, pollen and miscellaneous forms of organic matter (Tappin 2011).

Australian species of Mogurnda are most likely to be closely related, making it difficult to distinguish separate species difficult. Species are best distinguished by a combination of features including colouration (though this may alter depending on habitat, behavioural moods and time of day), fin ray, lateral scale, and vertebral counts. Geographic distribution is a prime identification resource as there is usually only one species per locality. The Flinders Ranges Mogurnda also lacks the darker vertical bars of many other Mogurnda species (Hammer et al. 2009cu; Tappin 2011).

The Flinders Ranges Mogurnda is sometimes confused with the Spangled Grunter (Leiopotherapon unicolor) which has orange body speckling, a single dorsal fin and square to slightly forked tail as opposed to the brick red spots, two dorsal fins and the rounded tail of the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda (Hammer et al. 2009cu).

The Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened fish. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.4 (DSEWPaC 2011i) may assist in identifying suitable conditions and timing of surveys for the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda.

The main identified threats to the Flinders Ranges Gudgeon include:

  • Competition with introduced species, such as Gambusia (Hammer et al. 2009cu; McNeill et al. 2011; Unmack 2000).
  • Changes in water quality and/or flow by introduced herbivores, particularly feral Goats (Capra hircus) (Hammer et al. 2009cu; McNeill et al. 2011; Unmack 2000).
  • Water extractions - given the small size of the habitat and its reliance on spring flows, any major water extractions in the region (e.g. for mineral exploitation) pose a serious potential threat to the species (Hammer et al. 2009cu).
  • Climate change may result in a reduction in the amount of rain received and an increase in the frequency of large storm disturbances (e.g. floods) which may impact on water availability and the flow of springs (Hammer et al. 2009cu). Whilst arid zone fish species such as the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda are adapted to variable and unpredictable water flows, Morrongiello and colleagues (2011) suggest the rate of climate change impacts may seriously threaten many fish species; especially those with limited ranges, specific habitats or those already close to their physiological tolerance limits.
  • Loss and degradation of habitat through mining. A proposal to mine within the Balcanoona Gorge could have had devastating impacts on the species' habitat and water supply (Hammer et al. 2009cu; McNeil et al 2011).
  • The commercial collection of the species by aquarists (Unmack 2000). Illegal collecting of the species has been reported, and such removal could inhibit recovery or survival, especially when the population is critically restricted during dry times (Hammer et al. 2009cu).
  • A cancerous disease of unknown cause. Discolouration and melanoma-type skin cancer growths were observed in approximately 20% of fish seen during surveys undertaken by McNeill and colleagues (2011), who suggested it may be attributable to reduced genetic resistance of the small, long-isolated species and/or the environmental impact of increased groundwater contamination from sources such as uranium. Increased ultraviolet radiation is also suggested to cause increased mortality in the species (Hammer et al. 2009cu). Further research, monitoring and associated remedial actions are encouraged to halt the disease (McNeill et al. 2011).

The main potential threat to populations of Flinders Ranges Mogurnda is its small, fragmented distribution; especially the Barcoo River population (Unmack 2000). This leaves the species highly vulnerable to stochastic events, such as changes in hydrology and weather patterns.

McNeil and colleagues (2011) recommend the following recovery actions for the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda:

  • Monitor known populations by a qualified research team, at least twice a year (with regular monthly surveys by stakeholders such as Park Rangers, local community members and pastoral lease holders), to assess health, habitat and environmental conditions.
  • Assess of the genetic relationship between South Australian and Queensland populations.
  • Identify possible translocation sites for the species.
  • Research into the cancerous disease affecting the species.
  • Survey for potential habitat or populations isolated in areas such as Mawson Plateau.
  • Construction of fish barriers and creation and implementation of a pest fish management plan in the area and surrounds to exclude exotic or detrimental species from the habitats of the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda.
  • Develop a comprehensive management and protection plan.
  • Investigate the cultural significance of the species to the local Adnyamathanha people, to whom the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda is known as 'Wirti Udla Varri'.
  • Develop and distribute a community resource for identification of the species.

Wager and Jackson (1993) noted that feral Goat eradication had already been undertaken in habitats surrounding the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda to protect water quality, and that Goat control should be an ongoing management action.

Management documents for the Flinders Ranges Mogurnda can be found at the start of this profile. Other documents relevant to the species include:

  • Threat Abatement Plan for Competition and Land Degradation by Feral Goats (DEWHA 2008adi).
  • South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board Regional Natural Resources Management Plan for the SA Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Region Volume 1 Ten-year Strategic plan (SAALNRM 2010).
  • National recovery plan for the community of native species dependent on natural discharge of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin (Fensham et al. 2010a).

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
Biological Resource Use:Fishing and Harvesting Aquatic Resources:Commercial harvest Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Mogurnda clivicola (Flinders Ranges Gudgeon) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008cx) [Conservation Advice].
Ecosystem/Community Stresses:Indirect Ecosystem Effects:Restricted geographical distribution (area of occupancy and extent of occurrence) Mogurnda clivicola in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006oz) [Internet].
Energy Production and Mining:Mining and Quarrying:Habitat destruction, disturbance and/or modification due to mining activities Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Mogurnda clivicola (Flinders Ranges Gudgeon) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008cx) [Conservation Advice].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Competition and/or predation Gambusia holbrooki (Eastern Gambusia, Mosquitofish) Mogurnda clivicola in Species Profile and Threats (SPRAT) database (Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH), 2006oz) [Internet].
Australian Desert Fishes Descriptions. Mogurnda clivicola Allen & Jenkins, 1999 Flinders Ranges, Barcoo, or Bulloo mogurnda (Unmack, P.J., 2000) [Internet].
Invasive and Other Problematic Species and Genes:Invasive Non-Native/Alien Species:Grazing, tramping, competition and/or habitat degradation Capra hircus (Goat) Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Mogurnda clivicola (Flinders Ranges Gudgeon) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008cx) [Conservation Advice].
The Action Plan For Australian Freshwater Fishes (Wager, R. & P. Jackson, 1993) [Cwlth Action Plan].
Species Stresses:Indirect Species Effects:Low numbers of individuals Australian Desert Fishes Descriptions. Mogurnda clivicola Allen & Jenkins, 1999 Flinders Ranges, Barcoo, or Bulloo mogurnda (Unmack, P.J., 2000) [Internet].
Uncategorised:Uncategorised:threats not specified Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Mogurnda clivicola (Flinders Ranges Gudgeon) (Threatened Species Scientific Committee, 2008cx) [Conservation Advice].

Adams, M., T.J. Page, D.A. Hurwood & J.M. Hughes (2013). A molecular assessment of species boundaries and phylogenetic affinities in Mogurnda (Eleotridae): a case study of cryptic biodiversity in the Australian freshwater fishes. . Marine and Freshwater Research. 64(10):920-31.

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

Allen, GR & Jenkins AP (1999). A review of the Australian freshwater gudgeons, genus Mogurnda (Eleotridae) with descriptions of three new species. Aqua. Journal of Ichthyology and Aquatic Biology. 3(4):141-156.

Brandle, R. (2001). A biological survey of the Flinders Ranges, South Australia 1997-1999. Page(s) 28. [Online]. Biodiversity Survey & Monitoring, National Parks & Wildlife, South Australia, Department for Environment & Heritage. Available from: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/biodiversity/pdfs/biosurvey/flinders_ranges/bsfrsa_b.pdf.

Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (DSEWPaC) (2011i). Survey guidelines for Australia's threatened fish. EPBC Act survey guidelines 6.4 . [Online]. EPBC Act policy statement. Canberra, ACT: DSEWPAC. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/epbc/publications/threatened-fish.html.

Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts (DEWHA) (2008ada). Threat Abatement Plan for competition and land degradation by unmanaged goats. [Online]. Canberra: DEWHA. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/tap/goats08.html.

Ehmann, H. (2009). South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board Flinders Ranges frogs and fishes: pilot project. [Online]. Available from: http://www.saalnrm.sa.gov.au/Portals/8/Publications_Resources/Project_Reports/SAAL-Report_Water_Flinders_Ranges_Frogs_And_Fishes_November_2009-112009.pdf. [Accessed: 15-May-2012].

Fensham, R.J., W.F. Ponder & R.J. Fairfax (2010). Recovery plan for the community of native species dependent on natural discharge of groundwater from the Great Artesian Basin. [Online]. City East, Queensland: Department of Environment and Resource Management. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/recovery/great-artesian-basin-ec.html.

Hammer M., S. Wedderburn & J. Van Weenen (2009). Action plan for South Australian freshwater fishes. [Online]. Adelaide: Native Fish Australia (SA), Department for Environment and Heritage, Government of South Australia. Available from: http://www.environment.sa.gov.au/Plants_and_Animals/Threatened_species_and_ecological_communities/Conservation_status_of_threatened_species/State.

McNeill, D., M. White & D.W. Schmarr (2011). Assessment of Endemic Fish (Mogurnda clivicola) and native vegetation at springs in the northern Flinders Ranges. Report to the South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board, Port Augusta. SAARDI Research Report Series No. 518. [Online]. South Australian Research and Development Institute and South Australian Department for Water. Available from: http://www.sardi.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0013/160051/Assessment_of_endemic_fish_Mogurnda_clivicola_and_native_vegetation_at_springs_in_the_northern_Flinders_Ranges.pdf.

Morrongiello, J.R., S.J. Beatty, J.C. Bennett, D.A. Crook, D.N.E.N. Ikedife, M.J. Kennard, A. Kerezsy, M. Lintermans, D.G, McNeil, B.J. Pusey & T. Rayner (2011). Climate Change and its Implications for Australia's Freshwater Fish. Marine and Freshwater Research. 62(9):1082-1098.

South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board (SAALNRM) 2010 (2010). Regional Natural Resources Management Plan for the SA Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Region Volume 1 Ten-year Strategic Plan. [Online]. Available from: http://www.saalnrm.sa.gov.au/Portals/8/Policy_Planning/Regiona_NRM_Plan/SAAL-Volume_1_Ten_Year_Strategic_Plan-082010.pdf.

Tappin, A. (2011). Aquaticlife- Mogurnda. [Online]. Available from: http://aquaticlife.angfaqld.org.au/Mogurnda.htm. [Accessed: 14-May-2012].

Threatened Species Scientific Committee (2008cx). Commonwealth Conservation Advice on Mogurnda clivicola (Flinders Ranges Gudgeon). [Online]. Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/species/pubs/66693-conservation-advice.pdf.

Unmack, P.J. (2000). Australian Desert Fishes Descriptions. Mogurnda clivicola Allen & Jenkins, 1999 Flinders Ranges, Barcoo, or Bulloo mogurnda. [Online]. Texas Natural History Collections. Available from: http://www.utexas.edu/depts/tnhc/.www/fish/dfc/australi/fish/mogucliv.html.

Wager, R. & P. Jackson, (1993). The Action Plan For Australian Freshwater Fishes. Australian Nature Conservation Agency, Canberra, ACT. [Online]. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiversity/threatened/publications/action/fish/index.html. [Accessed: 16-Jun-2010].

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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). Mogurnda clivicola in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the Environment, Canberra. Available from: http://www.environment.gov.au/sprat. Accessed Tue, 23 Sep 2014 18:42:03 +1000.