Animal Species:Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon, Philypnodon macrostomus Hoese & Reader, 2006

The Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon is endemic to Australia. It is found in freshwater and brackish to full strength seawater in the upper reaches of estuaries.

Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon from Burringbar Creek

Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon from Burringbar Creek
Photographer: Mark McGrouther © Australian Museum

Standard Common Name

Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon


The Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon is usually dark brown above and lighter brown to pale orange ventrally. Two dark lines radiate posteriorly from the eye. The first dorsal fin has two stripes of black with a broad orange margin. The caudal fin is pale orange basally becoming grey posteriorly with two to four dark bands formed by spots on the fin rays.

For many years the species was recorded in the literature as Philypnodon sp. In 2006, Australian Museum scientists Dr Doug Hoese and Ms Sally Reader named the species P. macrostomus. The species name macrostomus comes from the Greek words macro and stoma, meaning 'large' and 'mouth' respectively.

Size range

The species grows to 5 cm in length, but is more often seen at 3.5 cm to 4 cm in length.


The Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon is endemic to Australia. It shows considerable variation over its wide distribution from southern Queensland through New South Wales, Victoria and eastern South Australia. The species appears to be less common in parts of the Murray River drainage.

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

Philypnodon macrostomus

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon specimens in the Australian Museum.

What does this mean?


It occurs in freshwater and brackish to full strength seawater in the upper reaches of estuaries.



What does this mean?


  1. Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & M. Allen. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 394. (as Philypnodon sp)
  2. Larson, H.K. & D.F. Hoese in McDowall, R.M. 1996. Freshwater Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Reed Books. Pp. 247. (as Philypnodon sp)
  3. Merrick, J.R. & G.E. Schmida. 1984. Australian Freshwater Fishes. Biology and Management. John R. Merrick. Pp. 409. (as Philypnodon sp)
  4. Hoese, D.F. & S. Reader. 2006. Description of a new species of dwarf Philypnodon (Teleostei: Gobioidei: Eleotridae) from south-eastern Australia. Memoirs of Museum of Victoria. 63(1):15-19.

Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow
Last Updated:

Tags Fishes, Ichthyology, Dwarf Flathead Gudgeon, Philypnodon macrostomus, Eleotridae, dark brown, light brown, pale orange, < 10 cm, blotches, bands, big mouth, soft substrate, freshwater, brackish, marine,