Recovery of the red-finned blue-eye: an endangered fish from springs of the Great Artesian Basin

Fairfax, R., Fensham, R., Wager, R., Brooks, S., Webb, A., and Unmack, P. (2007) Recovery of the red-finned blue-eye: an endangered fish from springs of the Great Artesian Basin. Wildlife Research, 34 (2). pp. 156-166.

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View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/WR06086
 
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Abstract

The red-finned blue-eye (Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis) is endemic to a single complex of springs emanating from the Great Artesian Basin, Australia. The species has been recorded as naturally occurring in eight separate very shallow (generally <20 mm) springs, with a combined wetland area of ~0.3 ha. Since its discovery in 1990, five red-finned blue-eye (RFBE) populations have been lost and subsequent colonisation has occurred in two spring wetlands. Current population size is estimated at <3000 individuals. Artesian bores have reduced aquifer pressure, standing water levels and spring-flows in the district. There is evidence of spatial separation within the spring pools where RFBE and the introduced fish gambusia (Gambusia holbrooki) co-occur, although both species are forced together when seasonal extremes affect spring size and water temperature. Gambusia was present in four of the five springs where RFBE populations have been lost. Four out of the five remaining subpopulations of RFBE are Gambusia free. Circumstantial evidence suggests that gambusia is a major threat to red-finned blue-eyes. The impact of Gambusia is probably exacerbated by domestic stock (cattle and sheep), feral goats and pigs that utilise the springs and can negatively affect water quality and flow patterns. Three attempts to translocate RFBE to apparently suitable springs elsewhere within the complex have failed. Opportunities to mitigate threats are discussed, along with directions for future research to improve management of this extremely threatened fish and habitat.

Item ID: 2390
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1448-5494
Keywords: conservation; threatened secies; red-finned blue-eye; threatened habitat; exotic species
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2009 06:01
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960410 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Sparseland, Permanent Grassland and Arid Zone Environments @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9613 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas > 961309 Remnant Vegetation and Protected Conservation Areas in Sparseland, Permanent Grassland and Arid Zone @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9612 Rehabilitation of Degraded Environments > 961207 Rehabilitation of Degraded Sparseland, Permanent Grassland and Arid Zone Environments @ 30%
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