Murdoch researchers name new fish species

April 16, 2013

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Researchers have officially named Australia's newest freshwater fish: the Little Pygmy Perch. Photo: S. Beatty.

Researchers from Murdoch University’s Freshwater Fish Group & Fish Health Unit and South Australian Museum have officially named Australia’s newest freshwater fish: the Little Pygmy Perch (Nannoperca pygmaea sp. nov.)

The Little Pygmy Perch was first discovered in 2009 near Denmark, WA, and has been the subject of conservation efforts since then.

“The Little Pygmy is the smallest of Australia’s seven pygmy perch species, three of which are known only from the rivers and lakes of Western Australia’s south-west,” said Murdoch researcher Dr David Morgan.

“We believe it is also the rarest, having only been found in a very small section of river near Denmark.

“While its discovery has been very exciting, we now need to ensure that the species is afforded State and Federal protection.

“Recently, the WA Government has provided funding for the Little Pygmy and two other endangered freshwater fishes in the South-West through the State Natural Resource Management (NRM) Program.

“Part of these funds goes to getting the species listed and hopefully to locate it elsewhere and identify critical summer refuge habitats.”

Dr Morgan said the State NRM funding was a significant investment and represented an important collaboration between government agencies (Department of Fisheries, Department of Water, Department of Environment and Conservation), NRM groups (South Coast NRM) and universities (Murdoch University and UWA).

The Little Pygmy Perch was officially named in an article published on April 12, 2013 in the international scientific journal Zootaxa, authored by Dr Morgan and Dr Stephen Beatty from Murdoch and Dr Mark Adams from South Australian Museum.

The article can be found here.

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