Biology: Mogurnda clivicola populations in SA
M. clivicola are typically 5-8cm at maturity, but may grow up to 15cm. Sometimes confused with Spangled Perch Leiopotherapon unicolour, they are characterised by blue and rust-coloured bars along the sides of the body, with two separate dorsal fins and a rounded tail fin. Alternately, Spangled Perch have a more angular head, a single dorsal fin, forked tail fin and smaller uniform rust-coloured spotting over the entire body.
Spawning is prompted by water temperatures of at least 20°C , usually beginning in spring. They are repeat spawners, and females may continue to produce eggs as late as May or June if warm water temperature continues and food is available. Females lay between 200-800 eggs, which are guarded by males until hatching about 7 days later.
The small and isolated nature of populations makes M. clivicola extremely vulnerable to local disasters. There is also a high prevalence of a suspected melanoma disease in both populations.
Competition and predation from introduced Mosquitofish Gambusia holbrooki and native Spangled Perch are a serious concern if they are introduced to the region.
Commercial collection by aquarists, water fouling or habitat modification by feral goats, livestock and even high densities of kangaroos are also a potential problem.
M. clivicola have been identified as a conservation priority by the South Australian Arid Lands Natural Resource (SAAL NRM) Board.
There is currently research underway to identify potential translocation sites for additional populations to safeguard the species against extinction.
You can help by:
- Respecting the springs and waterways in the area and not washing clothes or bathing in the water.
- Not removing fish.
- Ensuring you do not introduce other organisms to the region.
For more information see:
Department of the Environment (2016). Mogurnda clivicola in Species Profile and Threats Database, Department of the
Environment, Canberra. www.environment.gov.au/sprat