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Geotria australis - Pouched lamprey


  • Geotria australis - Pouched lamprey

    Photo thanks to

    Scientific name: Geotria australis
    Common name: Pouched lamprey
    AKA: Wide-mouthed lamprey

    Country of origin: Chile, Argentina, New Zealand, Australia Including SA (lower Mt Lofty Ranges), WA (Margaret River - Denmark), Tas

    Temperature: cm
    Water flow: standard
    Oxygenation: standard

    Maximum size: 70 cm as adults. 3-8cm as juveniles.

    Diet: Juveniles are filter-feeders, feeding on zooplankton & algae.

    As an adult in the ocean they act as a parasite, on the sides of other fish.

    Once they return to freshwater as adults they do not feed.

    Males have a baggy pouch under their eyes when mature.

    They migrate to the sea for around 2 years, then back to freshwater to breed. They die after spawning.

    They can use their mouths to grasp, then swing their bodies up, to overcome obstacles when traversing upstream, or move cross-country when required. They are generally nocturnal when migrating, hiding in caves, under driftwood or in vegetation during the day. Many die during migration.

    Tank companions:
    They are NOT good tankmates with shrimp.

    Not known to be kept in home aquaria.

    Confused with: Other lampreys 30 species in all, most of which spend at least some of their time in freshwater.

    It is the only species in its genus.

    They are silver/ cobalt blue with green stripes when in their 6 month adult phase as they migrate to the sea, but are brown when they have been in freshwater for awhile, and during their juvenile phase (up to 4 years). They have eel-like bodies, with jawless mouths, with concentric rings of rasping teeth. Their eyes are on the sides of their heads.

    They are ancient fish, dating to 50 million years before the dinosaurs.

    Geotria australis are NOT legal imports to Australia as of 21/10/2013:
    however, as Australian natives, they can legally be purchased from Australian stock.

    The IUCN Red List reports Geotria australis as a species which has not yet been assessed at 22/10/2013:
    However the South Australian Department for Environment & Heritage reports that these fish are threatened species.
    The main threats appear to be blocks to their migration (dams, run-offs leading to dry areas & drains, etc) and introduced species such as trout & marron which predate on eggs & juveniles.

    It is very important not to release any aquarium specimens into our waterways. Any that are not sold or re-homed/ given away, can often be re-sold to aquarium stores. If they are homed in ponds, care should be taken that they cannot escape in run-off into our waterways. Even if fish are native & local they should not be moved from one waterway to another, as this can transfer disease. If they are not local fish, they can both spread disease and either out-compete or eat local fish, shrimp & plants, causing their demise.

    It is a good fish for beginners +1.

    WA government


    SA government‎

    SANFA - native, introduced species & native translocated species


    • DiscusEden
      DiscusEden commented
      Editing a comment
      SANFA - Poster of Native, translocated native and introduced species

    • corlis
      corlis commented
      Editing a comment
      Very interesting. One of the few ANADROMOUS fish spp that occur in Australia. We have many CATADROMOUS sp Nice article.

    • DiscusEden
      DiscusEden commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks corlis - always appreciate your information & specialist knowledge.
    Posting comments is disabled.



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