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Purple-spotted gudgeon returns to the River Torrens

Wednesday 08 Nov 2023
Please note the content of this news item is over six months old and may no longer be current.
Sylvia Zukowski Kris Hanna and Glynn Ricketts

The critically endangered Southern Purple-spotted Gudgeon is making a resurgence in South Australia after "breeding like crazy" at the Oaklands Wetland over the past two years.

The colourful native fish was first introduced to the wetland two in late 2021 in a partnership between Nature Glenelg Trust, Green Adelaide and the City of Marion.

Now, following a successful breeding program, the fish have been returned to the River Torrens-Karrawirra Parri for the first time in over a century.

More than 500 fish were retrieved from the Oaklands Wetland on Tuesday and re-located to Breakout Creek/Purruna Pari section of the River Torrens near Lockleys.

"The fish have enjoyed the Marion Council area so much, they have been breeding like crazy," Mayor of Marion Kris Hanna said.

“There are enough now to share with River Torrens, but I hope plenty will stay with us.”

Nature Glenelg Trust Senior Aquatic Ecologist Dr Sylvia Zukowski said the fish had been declared as regionally extinct in SA in the early 1990s.

“These little fish were thought to be extinct in the wild in SA until a small population was found in the Murray Darling Basin in 2002,” Dr Zukowski said.

“Rescued fish were brought into a captive breeding program managed by Nature Glenelg Trust in wetlands, private dams and schools to boost numbers of the gudgeon.

For the fish to continue to thrive, it’s important the City of Marion community understand the importance of keeping the Oaklands Wetland free from non-native species.

“Unfortunately, people have been bringing their unwanted pet fish to the wetland,” explained City of Marion’s Water Resource Manager, Glynn Ricketts.

“This can be very harmful, adversely affecting the water quality and native ecology.”

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