Animal Species:Flyspecked Hardyhead, Craterocephalus stercusmuscarum (Günther, 1867)

The Flyspecked Hardyhead has a slender body covered with black dots. The species is endemic to Australia. It occurs in some freshwater streams of the Northern Territory to southern Queensland.

Standard Common Name

Flyspecked Hardyhead

Alternative Name/s

Freshwater Hardyhead, Freshwater Silverside, Line-eye, Mitchellian Hardyhead, Northern Fresh Water Hardyhead, Speckled Crat, Worrell's Freshwater Hardyhead

Identification

The Flyspecked Hardyhead has a slender body covered with black dots. This pattern gave rise to the common name. The fish is golden yellow to deep green above, changing to white below. A dusky to silver stripe runs from the snout to the caudal peduncle.

Size range

It grows to about 8 cm in length.

Similar Species

The related Unspecked Hardyhead, Craterocephalus fulvus, was originally described as a subspecies of C. stercusmuscarum. This species occurs in coastal drainages from southern Queensland to northern New South Wales and the Murray-Darling River system.

Distribution

The species is endemic to Australia. It occurs in some freshwater streams of the Northern Territory to southern Queensland.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Craterocephalus stercusmuscarum

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Flyspecked Hardyhead specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Feeding and Diet

The Flyspecked Hardyhead eats mainly mosquito larvae and aquatic insects. It will also eat crustaceans and has been observed eating algae in aquaria.

Economic/social impacts

It can be easily kept in aquaria but its natural colours often fade.

Classification

Species:
stercusmuscarum
Genus:
Craterocephalus
Family:
Atherinidae
Order:
Atheriniformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia. T.F.H. Publications. Pp. 240. Ivantsoff, W. & L.E.L.M. Crowley. in McDowall, R.M. 1996. Freshwater Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Reed Books. Pp. 247.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
  3. Merrick, J.R. & G.E. Schmida. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes. Biology and Management. John R. Merrick. Pp. 409.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Fly-specked Hardyhead, Craterocephalus stercusmuscarum, Atherinidae, slender body, dots/spots, endemic to Australia, freshwater streams, freshwater, Freshwater Hardyhead, Freshwater Silverside, Line-eye, Mitchellian Hardyhead, Northern Fresh Water Hardyhead, Speckled Crat, Worrell's Freshwater Hardyhead, golden yellow, pale underside, < 10 cm,