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factsheet native bony herring - Murray-Darling Basin … · 36 Fishes oF the Murray-Darling Basin An introductory guide 37 Bony herring are consumed by other fish such as Murray cod

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  • F i s h e s o F t h e M u r r ay- Da r l i n g B a s i n 37An introductory guide36 F i s h e s o F t h e M u r r ay- Da r l i n g B a s i n 37An introductory guide3636 F i s h e s o F t h e M u r r ay- Da r l i n g B a s i n

    identificationA medium sized, laterally compressed, deep-bodied fish with a small head and mouth, large eyes and blunt snout. Maximum size ~470 mm; commonly 120200 mm. The tail is large and deeply forked. The single dorsal fin is short-based and, in larger individuals, has a greatly elongated last ray that sometimes extends to the base of the tail. The pectoral fins are small; the pelvic fins are approximately midway along the belly, below the dorsal fin; and the anal fin is long-based. Scales form a serrated ridge on the belly. The back is greenish, the sides bright-silvery iridescent and the belly silvery white; there is no lateral line.

    Biology and habitatBony herring are a hardy fish, tolerating high temperatures (up to 38C), high turbidity, high salinity (up to at least 39 ppt) and low dissolved oxygen. However, they are not tolerant of low water temperatures and, hence, are considered susceptible to the effects of cold-water pollution. Low

    water temperatures are thought to depress the immune response, allowing increased infection by protozoan parasites and fungi.

    In the lower Murray, males mature at 12 years and females at 2 years. Fecundity is high, with 33,000880,000 eggs produced, depending on fish size. The small eggs (0.83 mm diameter) are released in the still waters of shallow, sandy bays in OctoberFebruary. Daytime upstream movements have been recorded for juveniles and adults in the Murray and Murrumbidgee Rivers, and individuals as small as 22 mm have been recorded migrating. These movements are possibly related to the colonisation of new habitats by juveniles, as well as reproductive movements by adults.

    The species feeds predominantly during daylight hours. It is an algal detritivore, consuming large quantities of detritus, microalgae and microcrustaceans. The amount of algae consumed varies widely between studies. Microcrustaceans were more significant in the diet of juveniles than adults from the Murray River.

    Common name Bony herring (Bony bream, Hairback herring, Pyberry)

    scientific name Nematalosa erebi (gnther, 1868)

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  • F i s h e s o F t h e M u r r ay- Da r l i n g B a s i n 37An introductory guide36 F i s h e s o F t h e M u r r ay- Da r l i n g B a s i n 37An introductory guide36 An introductory guide 37

    Bony herring are consumed by other fish such as Murray cod and Golden perch, and also form a significant part of the diet of waterbirds such as cormorants and Pelicans.

    Distribution and abundanceWidespread and abundant, Bony herring vie with Spangled perch for the distinction of being the most widespread of Australias native freshwater fish species. Most common in lowland river systems generally, in the Basin they are known from the majority of lowland rivers, where they are often the most abundant native species. They were the most and second-most abundant native fish species in the Pilot Sustainable Rivers Audit and the NSW Rivers survey, respectively. They are commercially fished in Lake Alexandrina, SA. In the Basin, they are largely absent from upland habitats, probably due to low water temperatures.

    Potential threatsRiver regulation (barriers to fish passage, cold-water pollution) has reduced the abundance of the species and it is now in low abundance in the Murrumbidgee and Murray rivers below Burrinjuck and Hume Dams.

    general referencesBaumgartner 2003; Bishop et al. 2001; Briggs & McDowall 1996; Medeiros 2004; Puckridge & Walker 1990; Pusey et al. 2004.

    iD VALLey 1 Avoca 2 Border rivers 3 Broken 4 campaspe 5 castlereagh 6 central Murray 7 condamine 8 darling 9 goulburn 10 gwydir 11 Kiewa 12 Lachlan 13 Loddon 14 Lower Murray 15 Macquarie 16 Mitta Mitta 17 Murrumbidgee 18 namoi 19 ovens 20 Paroo 21 upper Murray 22 Warrego 23 Wimmera

  • Published by the Murray-Darling Basin Commission Postal address: GPO Box 409, Canberra ACT 2601 Office location: Level 3, 51 Allara Street, Canberra City ACT Telephone: (02) 6279 0100, international + 61 2 6279 0100 Facsimile: (02) 6248 8053, international + 61 2 6248 8053 Email: [email protected] Internet: http://www.mdbc.gov.au

    For further information contact the Murray-Darling Basin Commission office on (02) 6279 0100

    This fish fact sheet is an extract derived from the report: Lintermans, M. 2007, Fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin: An introductory guide.

    MDBC Publication No. 10/07

    ISBN 1 921257 20 2

    Murray-Darling Basin Commission 2007

    This work is copyright. Graphical and textual information in the work (with the exception of photographs, artwork and the MDBC logo) may be stored, retrieved and reproduced in whole or in part provided the information is not sold or used for commercial benefit and its source (Fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin) is acknowledged. Such reproduction includes fair dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review as permitted under the Copyright Act 1968. Reproduction for other purposes is prohibited without the permission of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission or the individual photographers and artists with whom copyright applies.

    To extent permitted by law, the copyright holders (including its employees and consultants) exclude all liability to any person for any consequences, including but not limited to all losses, damages, costs, expenses and any other compensation, arising directly or indirectly from using this report (in part or whole) and any information or material contained in it.

    F i s h e s o F t h e M u r r ay- Da r l i n g B a s i nii