Biodiversity Assessment Technical Report


Life history and population parameters for aquatic species



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7.3 Life history and population parameters for aquatic species

7.3.1. Priority Species

A priority list of 27 aquatic species (Table 7.9) was compiled for inclusion in the more detailed assessment of species’ response to disturbance, and life history and population dynamics. The list consisted of species which occurred in the Central Highlands and were listed under the Victorian Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 (FFG Act), the Commonwealth Endangered Species Protection Act 1992 (ESP Act) or the Threatened Fauna of Victoria (TFV) list.


Table 7.9: Priority aquatic species included in the life history and population parameter assessment.


Species Name

Common Name

Fish




Geotria australis

Pouched Lamprey

Prototroctes maraena

Australian Grayling

Galaxias cleaveri

Tasmanian Mudfish

Galaxias fuscus

Barred Galaxias

Galaxias olidus

Mountain Galaxias

Galaxias rostratus

Flat-headed Galaxias

Galaxias truttaceus

Spotted Galaxias

Galaxiella pusilla

Dwarf Galaxias

Maccullochella peelii peelii

Murray Cod

Macquaria ambigua

Golden Perch

Macquaria australasica

Macquarie Perch

Gadopsis marmoratus

River Blackfish

Philypnodon sp. nov.*

Dwarf Flat-headed Gudgeon

Decapod Crustacea




Engaeus phyllocerus

Narracan Burrowing Cray

Engaeus sternalis

Warragul Burrowing Cray

Euastacus armatus

Murray Spiny Cray

Non-decapod invertebrates




Hemiphlebia mirabilis

Damselfly

Archeophylax canarus

Caddisfly

Plectrotarsus gravenhorsti

Caddisfly

Riekoperla darlingtoni

Mt Donna Buang Wingless Stonefly

Tanjistomella verna

Caddisfly

Thaumatoperla robusta

Stonefly

Austrogammarus australis

Dandenong Freshwater Amphipod

Austrogammarus haasei

Amphipod

Canthocampus dedeckkeri

Copepoda

Canthocampus mammillifurca

Copepoda

Canthocampus sublaevis

Copepoda

Note: * a newly discovered species likely to be soon listed under the FFG Act

7.3.2 Results

Fish

Basic life history and population characteristics for fish species was obtained primarily from Cadwallader and Backhouse (1983) and Koehn and O’Connor (1990). Further information on species not covered in those sources on Galaxias fuscus was from Raadik et al. (1996) and on Philypnodon sp. nov. (T. Raadik, MaFRI, pers. comm.).


Geotria australis (Pouched Lamprey)

A small (adults to 60 cm) migratory species, located south of the GDR. Adults live in loose gravel in upland habitats. Spawning occurs in freshwater during late spring. Spawning trigger is unknown. Adult females (age unknown) lay up to 60,000 eggs in a nest of stones in small headwater streams. Incubation time is unknown. Larvae live in soft mud for 3-4 years, then migrate to sea to mature in winter, stay for an unknown number of years, then move upstream in spring.


Prototroctes maraena (Australian Grayling)

A small (adults to 20 cm and 500 gm) migratory species located south of the GDR. Adults live in predominantly stony fast-flowing streams. Spawning occurs in freshwater but the timing is uncertain. Spawning trigger is unknown.Adult females (maturity probably occurs at 2 years old) lay up to 80,000 eggs into the water column which settle on the substrate (although this is uncertain). Eggs hatch after a few weeks. Larvae are washed to sea to grow and juveniles migrate upstream in spring/summer.


Galaxias cleaveri (Tasmanian Mudfish)

A small (adults to 14 cm) species, located south of the GDR. Adults live in swamps and ditches that may dry for part of the year. Spawning occurs in freshwater during winter or spring. Spawning trigger is unknown. Adult females (age unknown) lay an unknown number of eggs. Very little is known of the life history.


Galaxias fuscus (Barred Galaxias)

A small (adults to 15 cm) non-migratory species, located north of the GDR. Adults live in slow flowing pools in stony fast-flowing upland streams. Spawning occurs in freshwater during winter/spring, triggered by increasing day length and water temperature. Adult females (age unknown) lay about 500 eggs, possibly adhering them to boulders. Incubation time is unknown.


Galaxias olidus (Mountain Galaxias)

A small (adults to 15 cm) non-migratory species, located both sides of the GDR. Adults live in stony fast-flowing streams. Spawning occurs in freshwater during winter/spring. Spawning trigger is unknown. Adult females (maturity occurs at 3 years old) lay few (<500) eggs into the water column which settle. Incubation time is unknown.


Galaxias rostratus (Flat-headed Galaxias)

A small (adults to 15 cm and 26 gm) non-migratory species, located north of the GDR. Adults live in still, gently flowing water. Spawning occurs in freshwater during spring. Spawning trigger is unknown. Adult females (unknown age) lay 1,000-7,000 eggs into the water column which settle. Eggs hatch after 9 days.


Galaxias truttaceus (Spotted Galaxias)

A small (adults to 20 cm) migratory species, located south of the GDR. Adults live in lower, slow flowing reaches of streams. Spawning occurs in freshwater during winter, possibly triggered by rising waters. Adult females (maturity occurs at 2 years old) lay a few thousand eggs attached to the substrate. Eggs hatch after 4-6 weeks. Larvae are washed to sea after hatching and juveniles move upstream in spring/summer.


Galaxiella pusilla (Dwarf Galaxias)

A small (adults to 4 cm) non-migratory species, located south of the GDR. Adults live in still, slow flowing vegetated waters. Spawning occurs in freshwater during winter/spring, after which the adults die. Spawning trigger is unknown. Adult females lay few (<200) eggs attached to the substrate. Eggs hatch after 2-3 weeks. Movement patterns are unknown.


Maccullochella peelii peelii (Murray Cod)

A large (adults to 1800 cm and 100 kg) migratory species, located north of the GDR. Adults live among wood debris in deep holes in lowland reaches of major rivers. Spawning occurs in freshwater during spring after an upstream adult migration, triggered by high flows. Adult females (maturity occurs at 4-6 years old) lay many eggs (10,000-200,000 depending on adult size) attached to the substrate (although the egg deposition site is not known). Eggs hatch after 1-2 weeks. Larvae drift downstream to mature and adults migrate downstream after spawning.


Macquaria ambigua (Golden Perch)

A large (adults to 76 cm) migratory species, located north of the GDR. Adults live in slow flowing water. Spawning occurs in freshwater during spring to summer after an adult upstream migration, triggered by rising temperature and flow. Adult females (maturity occurs at 2-4 years old) lay up to 500,000 eggs into the water column. Eggs hatch after 1-2 days. Larvae are washed downstream and adults migrate downstream after spawning.


Macquaria australasica (Macquarie Perch)

A moderate sized (adults to 46 cm) migratory species, located north of the GDR (although a population was translocated to the Yarra River). Adults live in deep holes in slow flowing waters. Spawning occurs in freshwater during late spring after an adult upstream migration, triggered by rising water temperatures. Adult females (maturity occurs at 2-4 years old) lay up to 100,000 eggs into the water column which settle. Eggs hatch after 1-3 weeks (depending on temperature). Larvae are washed downstream and adults migrate downstream after spawning.


Gadopsis marmoratus (River Blackfish)

A moderate sized (adults to 60 cm) non-migratory species, located both sides of the GDR. Adults live in relatively quiet upland and lowland streams. Spawning occurs in freshwater during spring, triggered by rising water temperatures. Adult females (maturity occurs at 3-4 years old) lay few (<500) eggs attached to the substrate in hollow logs. The parental male guards the eggs. Eggs hatch after about 2 weeks. Larvae are believed to live among leaf litter for at least 12 months.


Philypnodon sp. nov. (Dwarf Flat-headed Gudgeon)

A small (adults to 4 cm) non-migratory species, located both sides of the GDR. Very little is known of the life history, including spawning times and behaviour, larval and adult preferred habitats, fecundity or incubation times.


Aquatic macroinvertebrates

Little is known about the life history of most of the aquatic macroinvertebrates species listed in Table 7.9. Some specific information is known for some of the crustacea (Horwitz 1990), and a few insects (e.g. Hemiphlebia mirabilis - Trueman et al. 1992; Riekoperla darlingtoni - Neumann and Morey 1984) although most of this has come from casual observations, rather than well-conducted scientific surveys and research.


Euastacus armatus (Murray Spiny Cray)

Euastacus armatus is the best known of the decapod crayfish in Table 7.9. A large animal (45-50 cm long and 2.5-2.7 kg have been recorded), it has been found in a number of stream habitats (dry and wet sclerophyll forest at a variety of altitudes). Reproduction (adults reach maturity at 6-9 years) occurs annually in autumn. Eggs produced depend on the size of the adult, with one 450gm carrying about 800 eggs. Eggs develop over 4 months and juveniles remain attached to the adult for a further month.
Engaeus phyllocerus (Narracan Burrowing Cray)

This species lives primarily in burrows on the small flood plain of tree fern gullies in wet sclerophyll forest or in the banks of flowing creeks. They appear to breed in spring, carrying eggs and larvae over the hot, dry months, presumably releasing juveniles in late summer.


Engaeus sternalis (Warragul Burrowing Cray)

This is a little known and rarely collected species. Almost nothing is known of its preferred habitat or ecology. It has been found in deep burrows in the clay banks of small creeks, where it may be a permanent burrow dweller (there is no detectable outlet to the burrow at the surface).


Austrogammarus australis (Dandenong Freshwater Amphipod)

An hermaphroditic crustacean, the Dandenong Freshwater Amphipod is restricted to the upper catchments of the Dandenong Ranges east of Melbourne. Appears restricted to sites with intact riparian native vegetation. No information is available about its life history or habitat requirements.


Austrogammarus haasei (Amphipod)

Austrogammarus haasei is restricted to a single stream in the Dandenong Ranges National Park east of Melbourne. No information is available about its life history or habitat requirements.

Canthocampus dedeckkeri (Copepoda)

A small crustacean known only from Mt Baw Baw and Lake Mountain. Appears to be restricted to Sphagnum. No specific information is available about its life history or habitat requirements.


Canthocampus mammillifurca (Copepoda)

A small crustacean known only from Lake Mountain. Found in a small stream full of leaf litter. No specific information is available about its life history or habitat requirements.


Canthocampus sublaevis (Copepoda)

A small crustacea known only from Mt Baw Baw. Appears to be restricted to Sphagnum. No specific information is available about its life history or habitat requirements.


Hemiphlebia mirabilis (Damselfly)

A small dragonfly living in the edge vegetation of riverine billabongs and swamps. Adults emerge in summer. Water may dry at some times of the year and the species may have resistant eggs or larvae.


Archeophylax canarus (Caddisfly)

Small alpine caddisfly. Nothing is known specifically of its life history or habitat requirements.


Plectrotarsus gravenhorsti (Caddisfly)

Caddisfly from the Yarra River and Goulburn River. Nothing is known specifically of its life history or habitat requirements.


Tanjistomella verna (Caddisfly)

Caddisfly from south of Mt. Baw Baw. Nothing is known specifically of its life history or habitat requirements.


Riekoperla darlingtoni (Mt Donna Buang Wingless Stonefly)

A small (adults 6-12 mm) flightless stonefly known only from the southern slopes of Mt Donna Buang. Spends 2-3 years as a nymph in small trickles of water at high altitude. Nymphs resist desiccation by burrowing into damp gravel if the stream dries. Adults emerge in spring and live for 3-6 weeks, mainly in curled up bark. Eggs hatch between February and May.


Thaumatoperla robusta (Stonefly)

A large stonefly species restricted to alpine areas. Probably spends a number of years as a nymph under rocks in flowing streams before emerging. Adults have poor powers of dispersion. Nothing is known specifically of its life history or habitat requirements.




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