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Empire Gudgeons Hypseleotris compressa

Empire Gudgeons Hypseleotris compressa


A small species, its head and body are compressed, body slender and elongate but becoming deeper with growth. Mouth small and slightly oblique, reaching to almost anterior eye margin; gill openings broad, ending ventrally below posterior opercula margin. Tongue with a slight indentation at tip. First dorsal fin origin just behind the level of the pelvic fin bases; origin of 2nd dorsal about vent; anal fin ; pectorals with rays. Tail truncate to slightly rounded.

Body is covered with ciliated scales; top of head with cycloid scales forward to above middle of eyes; cheeks and gill covers with small cycloid scales that are difficult to discern. No scales on snout.

Sexual dimorphishm

Males grow larger than females and large males develop a slight bump on top of head, although the bump is not well developed as in other species of Hypseleotris.


Colour varies considerably, and individual fish can rapidly lighten or darken colours. Head and body vary from fawn to light golden brown, with belly lighter; can reach almost chocolate brown. A dense black or brown spot at top of pectoral base, and a may form a vertical bar. Along mid-side a nebulous dusky stripe that varies from dark to almost absent. Scales along sides have margins outlined in dark brown, especially among the misdid stripe. Upon preservation, a reticulated pattern of dark-margined scales appears over the whole body forming about 10 short bars along sides.

On head a nebulous dusky stripe runs around snout above upper lip, through eye and across side of head to edge of gill covers. On gill covers, this stripe may be underlain by an iridescent green to gold blotch.


Reaches 100mm , but matures at bout 40-50mm


Distribution Empire Gudgeons

Occurs in low – elevation coastal streams in New South Wales, Queensland, Northern Territory and north -western Western Australia. Also recorded from southern New Guinea. Southern limit on east coast is Towamba River in New South Wales.

Life cycle

Spawning normally occurs during warmer months, the eggs being deposited on rock, weed or sand and guarded by the male; up to 3000 eggs about 0.3mm long are laid and hatch in 10-13hrs. IN aquaria, females often spawn several times a season, with spawning occurring every 2-7days. One female may spawn with several males.

Empire Gudgeon in pond and Dams

Empire gudgeons are well suited to warmer climate and temperatures, in NSW, they may not do very well in shallow small ponds, but can still thrive in large ponds and dams. During the cold months, they become really slow and spend a lot of their time at the bottom, feeding very less.