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 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.
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.
This map shows the known locations of Taieri flathead galaxias, as at 2013.
Manuka Stream: Taieri flathead galaxias habitat
Source: New Zealand freshwater fish database