Extinct native fish species back from the dead

The EcoGenetics Lab was recently contracted by the Victorian State Government to undertake DNA analysis of a fish specimen from the Murray-Darling Basin in Northern Victoria suspected to be a southern purple spotted gudgeon (Mogurnda adspersa). Populations of the rare fish species have declined rapidly across the Murray Darling Basin (MDB) since the 1980s; now considered endangered in New South Wales, critically endangered in South Australia and presumed extinct in Victoria, with the last records of the species in the lower part of the MDB dating back to 2002.

Genetic analyses confirmed that the specimen in question is indeed M. adspersa, highlighting the significance of the initial discovery made by Austral Research Consulting and the North Central Catchment Management Authority. Further surveys are expected to be undertaken by the Victorian State Government to gain an appreciation for fish abundances in the area, and the possibility of additional populations in the region. Such knowledge is key for informing management aimed at rescuing this small but important species from the brink of extinction.