Image: © North Central CMA/ Doug Gimesy

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium Breed ''Zombie Fish''


The Animal Facts Editorial Team


April 9, 2023 7:51 pm


SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, Victoria, Australia

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium are excited to have bred the purple spotted gudgeon, a species thought to be extinct in the Australian state of Victoria since the 1990s. That was until two were found near Kerang in 2019. Since the rediscovery the North Central Catchment Management Authority (NCCMA) has been working to restore this population.

As part of their efforts a breeding program has been established in partnership with SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. In July 2022 a population of the species, nicknamed ''the zombie fish'' took up residence in the aquarium.

Their new habitat aimed to be the perfect environment for breeding the threatened species while also providing education to visitors on the importance of wetland conservation.

Aquarists at the Melbourne facility were excited to discover the first eggs on 27 December 2022 which hatched on 1 January 2023. At present the young fish, known as fry are 15mm long.

“We are thrilled to announce the success of our purple-spotted gudgeon breeding program. For the second time, SEA LIFE Melbourne has worked with the NCCMA and Middle Creek farm to successfully raise native freshwater fish onsite with the aim to release them into the wild. We look forward to continuing to empower the visitors of SEA LIFE Melbourne to share our passion for freshwater and marine conservation projects, particularly those endemic to Victoria,” said Sam Fawke, Curatorial Supervisor at SEA LIFE Melbourne.

This announcement marks an exciting milestone for the NCCMA partnership with SEA LIFE Melbourne. Following the release of the previously declared extinct olive perchlet in March, the Southern purple spotted gudgeon fry will be grown from newly hatched fry to around 2.5-3cm before being released back into Victorian waterways.

“We are really excited to be involved in breeding programs such as this. It’s a terrific opportunity to raise the profile of the southern purple-spotted gudgeon and provides visitors to the aquarium a glimpse into the work we do to protect and enhance the environment across 13 per cent of Victoria,” said Peter Rose, Project Manager at NCCMA.

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Our Favourite Purple Spotted Gudgeon Fact!

While the purple spotted gudgeon may appear small and harmless they are a stealthy predator which sits in wait for small invertebrates to swim past following which they will ambush it.

Image: © SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

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