Introduction

Taieri flathead galaxias have a distinctly flattened head and a pointy nose, giving them a rather snooty look.

Highlights

They have an olive-grey to golden brown body with dark-brown camouflage markings over their entire body.

Classified as ‘Nationally Vulnerable’, Taieri flatheads share the same threat status as our great spotted kiwi. Their entire remaining habitats total only 21 hectares.

Taieri flathead galaxias factsheet (PDF, 807K)

Habitat

Taieri flathead galaxias (Galaxias depressiceps) are found in tributaries of the Taieri, Waikouaiti and Shag rivers, and as far as Akatore Creek in the north. They make their home in headwater streams that are small enough to step across and are surrounded by grasses and tussock.

Features

Features of Taieri flathead galaxias include:

  • a distinctly flattened head and a pointy nose give it a rather snooty look (its scientific name ‘depressiceps’ translates to ‘pressed down head’)
  • an olive-grey to golden brown body with dark-brown camouflage markings over their entire body
  • typically grow up to 100 mm in length but can get to 150 mm
  • feed on small stream invertebrates such as mayflies and stoneflies
  • spawn in spring (October to November) laying tiny 2 mm eggs on the underside of rocks in riffle parts of the streams or rivers
  • they can live up to 8 years.

Threats

Over the last decade, we have lost 25% of known galaxiid populations. This can be directly linked to the spread of sports fish (trout and brook char), which eat galaxiids; and changes in land use such as stock access to streams, reduction of native vegetation, land development and forest harvesting.

These land use changes impact on the streams in which galaxiids live, increasing sedimentation, changing natural flows through water abstraction, and reducing the amount of habitat available for spawning.

Find out how you can help non-migratory galaxiids.

Distribution

This map shows the known locations of Taieri flathead galaxias, as at 2013.

Manuka Stream.
Manuka Stream: Taieri flathead galaxias habitat

Known locations of Taieri flathead galaxias, as at 2013.
Source: New Zealand freshwater fish database

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