Animal Species:Murray Cod, Maccullochella peelii (Mitchell, 1838)

The Murray Cod is Australia's largest freshwater fish. It is a prized angling species that can grow to a length of 1.8 m and weight of 113.5 kg.

Standard Common Name

Murray Cod

Alternative Name/s

The Murray Cod has also been referred to as Cod, Goodoo, Ponde and Pondi. The last three names are examples of the many Aboriginal names for this species.

Identification

The Murray Cod is a moderately elongate, deep-bodied fish. It has a concave snout profile, a large mouth and small eyes.

This species is olive to cream or yellowish with a reticulated pattern of green markings on the back and sides. It is white to cream below. The median fins are dusky with white margins. The pelvic fins are white.

Size range

The species can grow to a length of 1.8 m and weight of 113.5 kg. It is more commonly seen up to 70 cm in length and under 10 kg.

Distribution

This fish is endemic to Australia, occurring in freshwaters of the Murray-Darling River drainage in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. There are also erroneous reports from the Dawson-Fitzroy drainage.

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

Maccullochella peelii

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Murray Cod specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?

Habitat type

Freshwater Habitat: freshwater

What does this mean?

Feeding and Diet

It preys on fishes, molluscs, turtles and some small terrestrial animals such as birds, mammals and snakes.

Mating and reproduction

Conservation Status

Murray Cod populations have declined dramatically since white settlement of Australia. A commercial fishery between the 1880s and 1930s caused an initial decline. More recently, overfishing, river degradation and human modification of the environment have caused major population declines. Murray Cod are now relatively uncommon in most areas.  See Further Reading, below.

Classification

Species:
peelii
Genus:
Maccullochella
Family:
Percichthyidae
Order:
Perciformes
Class:
Actinopterygii
Subphylum:
Vertebrata
Phylum:
Chordata
Kingdom:
Animalia

What does this mean?

Further Reading

  1. Australian endangered species: Murray Cod. 2013. Australian endangered species: Murray Cod. [ONLINE] Available at: http://theconversation.com/australian-endangered-species-murray-cod-12555. [Accessed 13 May 2013].

References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1989. Freshwater Fishes of Australia. T.F.H. Publications. Pp. 240.
  2. Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & M. Allen. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 394.
  3. Harris, J.H. & S.J. Rowland in McDowall, R.M. 1996. Freshwater Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Reed Books. Pp. 247.
  4. Merrick, J.R. & G.E. Schmida. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes. Biology & Management. John R. Merrick. Pp. 409.


Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Last Updated:

Tags fishes, ichthyology, Murray Cod, Maccullochella peelii, Percichthyidae, Australia's largest freshwater fish, > 1m, Cod, Goodoo, Ponde, Pondi, elongate, deep-bodied, concave snout, large mouth, small eyes, olive, cream, green markings, whilte underside, endemic to Australia, freshwater, Murray-Darling River,