, Volume 211, Issue 2, pp 89-100

Biology of the western minnow, Galaxias occidentalis Ogilby (Teleostei : Galaxiidae), in a south-western Australian river

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The size and age composition, growth and diet of the western minnow, Galaxias occidentalis, in the southern branch of the Collie River in south-western Australia were determined from samples collected at approximately monthly intervals between January 1984 and December 1986. The prominent, narrow hyaline zone on otoliths was shown to be formed annually and thus valid for ageing these fish. An examination of the otoliths of 4711 fish indicated that 69.2 and 26.8% of the fish caught belonged to the 0 + and I + age classes, respectively. While the vast majority of the remaining fish represented the II + age class, a few III + and IV + and one V + fish were also recorded. Growth was seasonal, being greatest in spring and autumn and effectively ceasing in winter. Females began to grow faster than males during their first autumn of life. The respective mean lengths of males and females were ∼ 70 and 75 mm at the end of the first year and ∼ 90 and 100 mm at the end of the second year. The largest fish caught was a III + female measuring 163 mm and weighing 32.0 g. The respective von Bertalanffy growth curve parameters for L, K and t0 were 109, 0.758 and - 0.338 for males, and 124, 0.762 and - 0.223 for females. Although the diet of G. occidentalis was always dominated by small terrestrial fauna, and particularly insects, conspicuous seasonal differences were found between the more important of the other components. Data on body size, growth and diet of G. occidentalis are compared with those recorded for other galaxiids.