Australian Researchers Identify New Freshwater Fish Species

Biologists at Murdoch University have described a new species of freshwater fish from Western Australia.

The Little Pygmy Perch, Nannoperca pygmaea, is found in Western Australia (Murdoch University, via freshwaterfishgroup.com)

The Little Pygmy Perch, Nannoperca pygmaea, is found in Western Australia (Murdoch University, via freshwaterfishgroup.com)

The new species has been named the Little Pygmy Perch (Nannoperca pygmaea).

The first specimen of N. pygmaea was found in 2009 near Denmark, Western Australia, and has been the subject of conservation efforts since then.

“The Little Pygmy is the smallest of Australia’s seven pygmy perch species, three of which are known only from the rivers and lakes of Western Australia’s south-west,” said Dr David Morgan, lead author of a paper describing the Little Pygmy Perch in the journal Zootaxa.

“We believe it is also the rarest, having only been found in a very small section of river near Denmark. While its discovery has been very exciting, we now need to ensure that the species is afforded State and Federal protection.”

“Recently, the WA Government has provided funding for the Little Pygmy and two other endangered freshwater fishes in the South-West through the State Natural Resource Management (NRM) Program. Part of these funds goes to getting the species listed and hopefully to locate it elsewhere and identify critical summer refuge habitats,” Dr Morgan said.

“The State NRM funding was a significant investment and represented an important collaboration between government agencies, NRM groups and universities.”

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Bibliographic information: David L. Morgan, Stephen J. Beatty, Mark Adams. 2013. Nannoperca pygmaea, a new species of pygmy perch (Teleostei: Percichthyidae) from Western Australia. Zootaxa 3637 (4): 401–411