Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory




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CAAB: 37165000



Compiler and date details

28 May 2012 - Dianne J. Bray

2006 - Gerald R. Allen, Norbert J. Cross & Douglass F. Hoese


The Cyprinidae are a large family of freshwater fishes and include such forms as carp, barbs and goldfish. Nelson (2006) recognised about 220 genera and 2420 species, and Eschmeyer & Fong (2012) recognised 2860 species. The natural distribution of cyprinids includes all major tropical and temperate regions except Australia, New Zealand, Madagascar and South America. However, these fishes have been deliberately introduced to virtually all these places.

In Australia, six introduced species belonging to six genera have been recorded. Cold water cyprinids, confined mainly to southern Australia, include the Goldfish (Carassius), Carp (Cyprinus), Tench (Tinca), Roach (Rutilus) and Mountain Minnow (Tanichthys). The first four species were first introduced via Europe between 1860 and 1880. Species are variously treated in McDowall (1980), Cadwallader & Backhouse (1983), Brumley (1991), Allen et al. (2002) and Lintermans (2007). Unfortunately, the risk is high of further introductions, particularly in Queensland, as a result of aquarium releases of tropical species. Two such introductions, the Rosy Barb (Puntius conchonius) and the Mountain Minnow (Tanichthys albonubes) have been successful thus far; breeding populations of Rosy Barb are now present in streams of South Brisbane and in southwestern Western Australia, and the Mountain Minnow is known from streams in New South Wales and Queensland. Allen et al. (2006) reported that although T. albonubes was occasionally found in streams of New South Wales, it had not become established, whereas Ward (2009) reported that the species is now found in the Gosford region of New South Wales. Although Corfield et al. (2008) reported that Puntius tetrazona is established in the wild in Australia, there is no evidence that they have become established. Morgan et al. (2004) discussed the impacts of introduced freshwater fishes in Western Australia.

Cyprinids generally frequent soft bottom areas, often where vegetation is abundant. They feed on a variety of items including algae, insect larvae and other aquatic invertebrates. Species introduced to Australia range in maximum total length from about 4 cm for the Mountain Minnow to approximately 1.2 m for the Carp.


General References

Allen, G.R., Cross, N.J. & Hoese, D.F. 2006. Cyprinidae. pp. 345-347 in Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & Allen, G.R. Fishes. In, Beesley, P.L. & Wells, A. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Vol. 35. Volume 35 Australia : ABRS & CSIRO Publishing Parts 1-3, 2178 pp. [345]

Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp.

Brumley, A.R. 1991. Cyprinids in Australia. pp. 265-283 in Winfield, I.J. & Nelson, J.S. (eds). Cyprinid Fishes: Systematics, Biology and Exploitation. London : Chapman and Hall pp.

Cadwallader, P.L. & Backhouse, G.N. 1983. A Guide to the Freshwater Fish of Victoria. Melbourne : F.D. Atkinson Government Printer 249 pp. figs.

Corfield, J., Diggles, B., Jubb, C., McDowall, R.M., Moore, A., Richards, A. & Rowe, D.K. 2008. Review of the impacts of introduced ornamental fish species that have established wild populations in Australia. Prepared for the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. 277 pp. [7]

Eschmeyer, W.N. & Fong, J.D. 2012. Species of Fishes by family/subfamily. Catalog of Fishes. Online version updated 15 March 2012.

Lintermans, M. 2009. Fishes of the Murray-Darling Basin — An Introductory Guide. Canberra : Murray-Darling Basin Commission 157 pp. [MDBC Publication Number 10/07]

McDowall, R.M. (ed.) 1980. Freshwater Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Sydney : A.H. & A.W. Reed 208 pp., figs, 32 pls.

Morgan, D.L., Gill, H.S., Maddern, M.G. & Beatty, S.J. 2004. Distribution and impacts of introduced freshwater fishes in Western Australia. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 38: 511-523

Nelson, J.S. 2006. Fishes of the World. Hoboken, New Jersey : John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 601 pp.

Ward, A. 2009. Distribution and Ecology of Gambusia holbrooki and Tanichthys albonubes throughout the Gosford Local Government Area, Gosford Council 2008/2009. Gosford Council Ecological Research Grant Progra. 31 pp.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
07-May-2013 07-May-2013 MODIFIED
12-Feb-2010 (import)