Animal Species:Estuary Perch, Macquaria colonorum (Gunther, 1863)

As its standard name implies, the Estuary Perch is usually found in coastal lakes and rivers.  It is commonly confused with the Australian Bass.

An Estuary Perch caught at Apple Tree Bay

An Estuary Perch caught at Apple Tree Bay
Photographer: Eric Ren © Eric Ren

Standard Common Name

Estuary Perch

Alternative Name/s

The species has also been called the Brackish Water Perch, Estuarine Perch and Gippsland Perch.


The Estuary Perch is greyish above, silvery on the sides and white below. Its fins are darker than the body colour. The species looks similar to the Australian Bass but has a concave dorsal head profile rather than the straight dorsal head profile of the Australian Bass.

Size range

The species grows to about 75 cm in length and a weight of 10 kg. Specimens are more commonly seen to 40 cm and 3 kg.


The Estuary Perch is endemic to Australia, occurring in coastal drainages and estuarine waters from northern New South Wales around the south east coast to eastern South Australia. It is also recorded from northern Tasmania.

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

Macquaria colonorum

Distribution by collection data

Ozcam map of Estuary Perch specimens in the Australian Museums.

What does this mean?


It is usually found in coastal lakes and rivers.

Life cycle

Adults occur in coastal drainages of south-eastern Australia from the Richmond River, NSW (28º53´S) to the Murray River, SA (139ºE). They are catadromous, generally inhabiting estuaries and tidal reaches of rivers and they move to estuary mouths to spawn during winter. A full description of the Larval Estuary Perch can be found here.



What does this mean?


  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. 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.
  4. Harris, J.H. & S.J. Rowland in McDowall, R.M. 1996. Freshwater Fishes of South-Eastern Australia. Reed Books. Pp. 247.

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Tags fish, ichthyology, Estuary Perch, Macquaria colonorum, sandy bottom, coastal lakes, coastal rivers, Brackish Water Perch, Estuarine Perch, Gippsland Perch, grey, silvery sides, white underside, concave head, 30 cm - 1 m, endemic to Australia, estuarine water,