Canterbury mudfish

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Canterbury mudfish
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Osmeriformes
Family: Galaxiidae
Subfamily: Galaxiinae
Genus: Neochanna
Species: N. burrowsius
Binomial name
Neochanna burrowsius
(Phillipps, 1926)

The Canterbury mudfish, Neochanna burrowsius, also known as the kowaro, is a galaxiid of the genus Neochanna, found only across the Canterbury Plains in New Zealand.[1] The first Canterbury mudfish was originally described by W J Phillipps in 1926, from a sample sent to him by A. Burrows, from the North Canterbury town of Oxford.[2]

The Canterbury mudfish is up to 15 cm in length and it has small eyes and only four or five pelvic fins, while other New Zealand Galaxids have seven fins. Although generally a plain brown color, sometimes small gold flecks can be seen.[3]

Under the New Zealand Threat Classification System, the Canterbury mudfish is considered to have the conservation status of 'acutely threatened' and 'Nationally Endangered'.[4] The Canterbury species is the second most threatened native fish in New Zealand.[3] By 2007, it was limited to only 80 known habitats. Water shortages and the exponential expansion of agriculture are the causes of habitat loss.[3]

A release of Canterbury mudfish has been carried out in a protected wetland near Willowby, south of Ashburton, New Zealand, where it is hoped they will survive and reproduce. In May 2010 ninety young fish were released into Travis Wetland in the city of Christchurch in the hope that they would become established.[5]


  1. ^ Canterbury mudfish (Neochanna burrowsius), NIWA Atlas of New Zealand Freshwater Fishes, NIWA website, retrieved 2 March 2008.
  2. ^ Phillipps, W.J. (1926) 'New or rare fishes of New Zealand'. Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute 56: 529-537. cited on p 5 of O' Brien, L. K. (2006) 'Conservation ecology of Canterbury mudfish (Neochanna burrowsius)', Doctoral Thesis Summary, School of Biological Sciences, University of Canterbury, 2006.
  3. ^ a b c Booker, Jarrod (26 September 2007). "'Ugly bog-dweller' honoured in national day". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 23 September 2011. 
  4. ^ New Zealand mudfish (Neochanna spp.) recovery plan (Northland, black, brown, Canterbury and Chatham mudfish). 2003. Department of Conservation Threatened Species Recovery Plan 51. 25 p.
  5. ^ Brown, Giles (5 May 2010). "Project aims to re-establish endangered mudfish in wetland". The Press. 

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