ESR 4:219-225 (2008)  -  doi:10.3354/esr00075

Spatial ecology of an endangered native Australian Percichthyid fish, the trout cod Maccullochella macquariensis

John D. Koehn1,*, Simon J. Nicol1,2, John A. McKenzie1, Jason A. Lieschke1, Jarod P. Lyon1, Karl Pomorin1

1Freshwater Ecology, Arthur Rylah Institute for Environmental Research, Department of Sustainability and Environment, 123 Brown St., Heidelberg 3084, Australia
2Present address: Oceanic Fisheries Programme, Secretariat of the Pacific Community, BP D5, 98848 Nouméa Cedex, New Caledonia

ABSTRACT: We used radiotelemetry and mark-recapture tagging to determine the spatial movements of adults and juveniles (>180 mm total length) of a federally endangered, native Percichthyid fish, the trout cod Maccullochella macquariensis, in the Murray River, south-eastern Australia, to assist in its management and conservation. Trout cod exhibited strong evidence for site fidelity and homing in this study, typically utilizing only a few locations in the river channel and undertaking limited movements. The home range estimate for radiotracked fish was 61 ± 46 m (95% confidence interval). Movements of 1200 ± 46 m (95% confidence interval) were recorded for mark-recapture fish over longer time frames. No movements were recorded for 50% of fish. Larger movements (>3 km) were observed in <10% of individuals. While increased movement occurred with high flows during October and November in 1993, there was no evidence of an obligatory migration for this species. Several fish moved from the main river channel into floodplain channels and onto the nearby floodplain. No increase in movement was observed with season or with higher flows that occurred in July and August 1995. Conservation strategies for the species include the restoration of physical habitats. These results suggest that proximity to source populations may be influential in determining the likely timeframe necessary for recolonisation of restored habitats.

KEY WORDS: Movement · Migration · Radiotelemetry · Passive Induced Transponder · PIT · Murray River · Australia

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Cite this article as: Koehn JD, Nicol SJ, McKenzie JA, Lieschke JA, Lyon JP, Pomorin K (2008) Spatial ecology of an endangered native Australian Percichthyid fish, the trout cod Maccullochella macquariensis. Endang Species Res 4:219-225

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