A review of distribution, field observations and precautionary conservation requirements for sicydiine gobies in Australia

Ebner B.C., Thuesen P.A., Larson H.K., Keith P.

Published date: December 2011
Volume: 35
Number: 4
Pagination: 397–414
Publisher: Société Française d’Ichtyologie
doi: https://doi.org/10.26028/cybium/2011-354-013

The tropical Indo-Pacific is considered the centre of sicydiine goby diversity. Nevertheless, these amphidromous gobies have only occasionally been recorded in Australia, and this probably relates to the existence of limited suitable habitat (perennial streams that drain steep coastal mountain ranges and enter the sea via poorly developed estuaries). We provide new records of the distribution of sicydiine gobies within Australia, and review the Australian biogeography of the group to confirm at least seven species from four genera (Sicyopterus, Sicyopus, Smilosicyopus, Stiphodon) occur in north-eastern Australia (North Queensland). We provide the first Australian records of three species: Sicyopus discordipinnis, Smilosicyopus sp. and Stiphodon birdsong. Current records of sicydiines in Australia are centred on and are almost exclusive to the Wet Tropics region, spanning just a few hundred kilometres of coastline. Longitudinal within-stream distributions of the fauna are species-specific (and to a large extent, genus-specific) corresponding with altitude and migration ability in relation to instream barriers (e.g., waterfalls). Sicydiines are colourful, and attractive to aquarists. This in combination with the apparently low densities and restricted ranges of sicydiines in Australia, suggests that collecting should be limited, at least until the population structure and ecology of these assemblages is better understood. 

Keywords: Altitude - Amphidromy - Australia - Biogeography - Conservation - Sicydiinae
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