New Distribution Records for the Cairns Rainbowfish Cairnsichthys rhombosomoides (Melanotaeniidae): implications for conservation of a restricted northern population

Keith C. Martin and Susan Barclay

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 155-164, Volume 19, Issue 3 – 19 July 2013

Four new locality records for the Cairns Rainbowfish Cairnsichthys rhombosomoides Nichols & Raven, 1928 are documented. The new localities are all outside the known geographical range for this species. Three of the new localities appear to represent part of a disjunct northern population in a biogeographical province where the species was previously unknown. The fourth locality appears to be a minor range extension of the existing known population.
The new localities all contain habitats similar to those found in areas where the core populations of C. rhombosomoides occur and environmental data is provided for all of the newly recorded localities. Specimens from the northern localities are genetically distinct, although they appear morphologically similar to those from the core area of distribution. Cairnsichthys rhombosomoides populations at the new localities have extremely restricted habitat requirements and localised distributions, and therefore may be particularly vulnerable to local perturbations, especially those that may reduce stream flows such as extended droughts and human activities such as surface and ground water extraction.

Full Text | PDF (196 KB)


ALLEN, G. R. 1980. A generic classification of the rainbowfishes (family Melanotaeniidae). Records of the Western Australian Museum 8: 449–90.

ALLEN, G. R., MIDGLEY, S. H. & ALLEN, M. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Western Australian Museum: Perth. 394 pp.

EBNER, B. C. & THUESEN, P. 2010. Discovery of streamcling-goby assemblages (Stiphodon species) in the Australian Wet Tropics. Australian Journal of Zoology 58: 331-340.

KLEIBERG, T. 1988. The Cairns Rainbowfish Cairnsichthys rhombosomoides (Nichols & Raven). Fishes of Sahul 5 (2): 215-216.

MARTIN, K. C. 2010. Along the Bloomfield Track, North Queensland. In-Stream, 19 (10).

NICHOLS, J. T. & RAVEN, H. C. 1928. A New Melanotaeniin fish from Queensland. American Museum Novitates 296. American Museum of Natural History.

PUSEY, B. J., KENNARD, M. J. & ARTHINGHTON, A. H. 2004. Freshwater Fishes of North-eastern Australia. CSIRO Publishing: Melbourne. 684 pp.

RUSSELL, D. J., HALES, P. W. & HELMKE, S. A. 1996. Stream Habitat and Fish Resources in the Russell and Mulgrave Rivers Catchments. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane. 68 pp.

RUSSELL, D. J., MCDOUGALL, A. J. & KISTLE, S. E. 1998. Fish Resources and Stream Habitat of the Daintree, Saltwater, Mossman and Mowbray Catchments. Information Series QI98062. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane. 72 pp.

RUSSELL, D. J., MCDOUGALL, A. J., RYAN, T. J., KISTLE, S. E., ALAND, G., COGLE, A. L. & LANGFORD, P. A. 2000. Natural Resources of the Barron River Catchment 1. Stream habitat, fisheries resources and biological indicators. Information Series QI00032. Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Brisbane. 108 pp.

SATTLER, P. & WILLIAMS, R. (Eds.) 1999. The Conservation Status of Queensland’s Bioregional Ecosystems. Published by Environmental Protection Agency, Brisbane.

THUESEN, P. A., PUSEY, B. J., PECK, D. R., PEARSON, R. & CONGDON, B. C. 2008. Genetic differentiation over small spatial scales in the absence of physical barriers in an Australian rainforest stream fish. Journal of Fish Biology 72 (5): 1174-1187.

THUESEN, P. A., EBNER, B. C., LARSON, H., KEITH, P. & SILCOCK, R. M. 2011. Amphidromy Links a Newly Documented Fish Community of Continental Australian Streams, to Oceanic Islands of the West Pacific. PLoS ONE 6 (10): e26685.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0026685

WAGER, R. 1996. Cairnsichthys rhombosomoides. In: IUCN 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 October 2012. 

Previous post

A new species of Egglestonichthys from northern Australian estuaries (Teleostei, Gobiidae, Gobiinae)

Next post

Simultaneous delimitation of species and quantification of interspecific hybridization in Amazonian peacock cichlid

The Author



No Comment

Leave a reply