IntroductionNew Zealand has 51 native freshwater fish species.
Some species such as whitebait are migratory, moving between fresh and sea water environments to complete their lifecycles. Non-migratory species such as mudfish spend their entire life in freshwater.
Native fish are often secretive and can be hard to find. They tend to feed at night and hide during the day under cover such as logs, boulders, riverbanks and vegetation.
Adult fish are found in a variety of freshwater habitats. For example, giant kōkopu and īnanga tend to be found in lowland rivers, streams and wetlands, whereas kōaro can ‘climb’ up waterfalls and live in high mountainous, bouldery streams.
There are seven species of bullies in New Zealand. They are found in a range of freshwater habitats.
Eels migrate up streams as elvers to find suitable adult habitat. After many years they return to the Pacific Ocean to breed and die.
Lamprey are primitive, jawless fish. They look like eels but are more closely related to sharks and rays.
Non-migratory galaxiids belong to an ancient, scaleless fish family called Galaxiidae – for the galaxy-like gold flecks and patterns on their backs.
Whitebaiters call smelt ‘cucumber fish’. There are two species of these small shimmering silver fish.
The streamlined shape of this native fish must have influenced Concord designers.