Biodiversity Assessment Technical Report


Aquatic fauna species assessment



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7 Aquatic fauna species assessment

7.1 Introduction


The aquatic species assessment provides an analysis of information on fish and aquatic macroinvertebrates which can be used to address the issue of the viability of maintaining populations of aquatic native species throughout their natural ranges.
To meet this objective, the following assessment outputs are required:


  • identification of the distribution, habitat and life history attributes of aquatic biota, primarily fish and aquatic macroinvertebrate species;

  • identification of factors affecting the conservation status (risk of extinction) of aquatic species;

  • identification of the threatening processes (disturbances) affecting aquatic species and their habitat, and a description of the current management action designed to mitigate those effects;

  • a description of the current management prescriptions for aquatic species and their habitat, with priority given to those species which are rare or threatened; and

  • identification of the gaps in survey and research on aquatic species, habitats and threatening processes.

The quality of aquatic habitats within and beyond forested areas is influenced by the activities within the catchment. Information and results from past surveys of aquatic species and ecosystems have been reviewed to identify major gaps in information.



7.1.1 Fish and Aquatic Macroinvertebrates of the Central Highlands Region

Fish

Twenty-three native freshwater fish have been recorded from the Central Highlands to date (Victorian Fish Dataset). Of these, 12 are listed as threatened fauna in the state (CNR 1995a) of which six are listed on the State’s Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (Table 7.1). The region is bisected by the Great Dividing Range (GDR) which separates the aquatic habitat into northern flowing streams (draining into the Murray River) and southern flowing (coastal) streams, with 11 and 16 naturally occurring native species of fish in each area respectively.


The fish fauna of the region can be further divided into three distinct groups, one consisting of five species restricted to the upland streams north of the Great Dividing Range, 13 species restricted to the south, and four wide-ranging species which occur on both sides of the GDR (see Raadik 1995).
Three of the northern species (27% of the native fish fauna) and eight of the southern species (50%) are known to migrate as part of their life cycle (Table 7.1), indicating that migration, and unimpeded instream passage, are important issues.
Table 7.1: Native freshwater fish species in the Central Highlands Region.

Scientific name

Common Name

Conservation Status

FFG/ESP Act status

Migratory

Geotria australis

Pouched Lamprey

Rare




+

Mordacia mordax

Short-headed Lamprey







+

Anguilla australis

Short-finned Eel







+

Anguilla reinhardtii

Long-finned Eel







+

Retropinna semoni

Australian Smelt







+?

Prototroctes maraena

Australian Grayling

Vulnerable

FFG,ESP

Act Listed



+

Galaxias brevipinnis

Broad-finned Galaxias







+

Galaxias cleaveri

Australian Mudfish

Vulnerable

FFG* Act Listed

+?

Galaxias fuscus

Barred Galaxias

Endangered

FFG**, ESP Act Listed




Galaxias maculatus

Common Galaxias







+

Galaxias olidus

Mountain Galaxias

Ins. Known







Galaxias rostratus

Flat-headed Galaxias

Rare







Galaxias truttaceus

Spotted Galaxias

Rare




+

Galaxiella pusilla

Dwarf Galaxias

Vulnerable

FFG Act Listed




Maccullochella peelii peelii

Murray Cod

Vulnerable

FFG* Act Listed

+

Macquaria ambigua

Golden Perch

Rare




+

Macquaria australasica

Macquarie Perch

Vulnerable

FFG Act Listed

+

Gadopsis bispinosus

Two-spined Blackfish










Gadopsis marmoratus

River Blackfish

Ins. Known







Pseudaphritis urvillii

Tupong







+

Hypseleotris klunzingeri

Western Carp Gudgeon










Philypnodon grandiceps

Flat-headed Gudgeon










Philypnodon sp. nov.

Dwarf Flat-headed Gudgeon










Notes: FFG - Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 ; ESP - Endangered Species Protection Act 1992. * - FFG Action Statement draft; ** - FFG Action Statement completed. ? - migratory habit suspected but not shown;  - a recovery plan has been prepared but it is yet to be formally approved by the Commonwealth Environment Minister.

Aquatic Macroinvertebrates

While the total number of aquatic macroinvertebrate species in the Central Highlands region cannot be determined, a number of aquatic macroinvertebrates known from the area have been listed under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988, or are included in the NRE list of threatened Victorian fauna (CNR 1995a - Table 7.2). Adequate distributional information, however, exists for only 4 of these species (Hemiphlebia mirabilis - Trueman et al. 1992; Austrogammarus australis and A. haasei - Doeg et al. 1996; and Riekoperla darlingtoni - Neumann and Morey 1984) while the distribution of the remaining taxa remains insufficiently known in the Central Highlands.


Table 7.2: Aquatic macroinvertebrates in the Central Highlands region.

Scientific Name

Class, Order

Conservation Status

FFG/ESP Act Status

Hemiphlebia mirabilis

Insecta, Odonata

Vulnerable

FFG** Act Listed

Archeophylax canarus

Insecta, Trichoptera

Rare

FFG Act Listed

Plectrotarsus gravenhorsti

Insecta, Trichoptera

Ins. Known




Riekoperla darlingtoni

Insecta, Plecoptera

Vulnerable

FFG Act Listed

Tanjistomella verna

Insecta, Trichoptera

Vulnerable




Thaumatoperla robusta

Insecta, Plecoptera

Rare




Austrogammarus australis

Crustacea, Amphipoda

Ins. Known

FFG** Act Listed

Boekella nyoraensis

Crustacea, Copepoda

Rare




Canthocampus dedeckkeri

Crustacea, Copepoda

Ins. Known




Canthocampus mammillifurca

Crustacea, Copepoda

Ins. Known




Canthocampus sublaevis

Crustacea, Copepoda

Ins. Known




Austrogammarus haasei

Crustacea, Amphipoda




FFG Act Listed

Notes: FFG - Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 ; ESP - Endangered Species Protection Act 1992. * - FFG Action Statement draft; ** - FFG Action Statement completed
The decapod crustacea (crayfish and prawns) fauna of the area are better known, having been the focus of taxonomic studies (Morgan 1986; Horwitz 1990) and have been included as part of fish surveys conducted since 1990 (see below). Numerous incidental records also exist. Species known to occur in the region are shown in Table 7.3.
Table 7.3: Native freshwater decapod crustacea in the Central Highlands.

Scientific name

Common name

Conservation Status

FFG/ESP Act status

Parastacidae










Cherax destructor

Common Yabby







Engaeus affinis

Central Highlands Burrowing Cray







Engaeus cunicularius

Granular Burrowing Cray







Engaeus curvisuturus

Curve-tail Burrowing Cray







Engaeus cymus

North-eastern Burrowing Cray







Engaeus hemicirratulus

Gippsland Burrowing Cray







Engaeus laevis

Richards Burrowing Cray







Table 7.3 cont’d

Scientific name

Common name

Conservation Status

FFG/ESP Act status













Engaeus lyelli

Upland Burrowing Cray







Engaeus phyllocerus

Narracan Burrowing Cray

Rare

FFG* Act Listed

Engaeus quadrimanus

Lowland Burrowing Cray







Engaeus sternalis

Warragul Burrowing Cray

Endangered

FFG* Act Listed

Engaeus tuberculatus

Tubercle Burrowing Cray







Engaeus urostrictus

Dandenong Burrowing Cray







Engaeus victoriensis

Foothill Burrowing Cray







Euastacus armatus

Murray Spiny Cray

Ins. Known




Euastacus kershawi

Gippsland Spiny Cray







Euastacus woiwuru

Central Highlands Spiny Cray







Euastacus yarraensis

Southern Victorian Spiny Cray







Atyidae

Shrimps







Paratya australiensis

Freshwater Shrimp

common




Notes: FFG - Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 ; ESP - Endangered Species Protection Act 1992. * - FFG Action Statement draft; ** - FFG Action Statement completed


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