Macquaria colonorum Click to enlarge image
An Estuary Perch caught on hook and line at a depth of 2 m, Apple Tree Bay, Hawkesbury River, New South Wales, March 2007. The fish was caught at night after heavy rain. Image: E. Ren
© E. Ren

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    colonorum
    Genus
    Macquaria
    Family
    Percichthyidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • 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.

Introduction

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

Identification

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.

Habitat

It is usually found in coastal lakes and rivers.

Distribution

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.



Life history 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.

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. 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.