- Australian smelt
name = Australian smelt
genus = "
species = "R. semoni"
binomial = "Retropinna semoni"
binomial_authority = (Weber, 1895)
Australian smelt, "Retropinna semoni", are a small,
pelagicsilvery freshwater fishfound in large numbers in waters of the south eastern Australian mainland.
Widely distributed through the south eastern part of the Australian mainland. The species is found in coastal drainages from the south east corner of
South Australiathrough Victoria, New South Walesto the Fitzroy Riverin south east Queensland. It occurs widely in the Murray Riverand its tributaries and up the Darling as far upstream as Wilcannia. There are isolated populations in the Coopers Creekwhich drains into Lake Eyreand several smaller ones in north-western New South Walesand southern Queensland. Recent genetic research indicates Australian smelt stocks are composed of 5 highly genetically distinct and as yet undescribed species (Hammer "et al.", 2007).
A small silvery fish to 75 mm total length, very occasionally to 100 mm. In Coopers Creek usually only to 50 mm.
Often found in large schools this pelagic species prefers slow moving or still waters. It is often found in
billabongs, dams and lakes at various salinity levels and in the lower reaches of rivers and streams. Although there have been some reports of diadromouspopulations, this fish usually completes its entire life cycle in freshwater.
Small aquatic insects, micro crustaceans and a variety of planktonic organisims.
Spawns in spring at water temperatures in excess of 15°C. Eggs are demersal, adhesive, sperical and transparent, about 0.8 mm diameter to 1 mm when water hardened. Eggs fall to the bottom and stick to instream debris, vegetation and the substrate. Females lay between 100 to 1000 eggs. Hatching occurs at about 9 to 10 days and larvae are around 4.5 to 5 mm total length.
Importance to humans
This species has some potential as an aquarium species. Ideally suited to use as an effective mosquito predator in ponds in south eastern Australia, especially where frogs are encountered. Not suitable for use in a community tank, best kept as a school of fish in a single species situation.
* Michael P. Hammer, Mark Adams, Peter J. Unmack and Keith F. Walker (2007) A rethink on Retropinna: conservation implications of new taxa and significant genetic sub-structure in Australian smelts (Pisces : Retropinnidae). "Marine and Freshwater Research" 58: 327–341.
* [http://www.nativefish.asn.au/smelt.html Native Fish Australia]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.