Macquaria ambigua Richardson, 1845, Western Australia (probably an error, although Australia is the correct country).
OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Yellowbelly, Murray bream; German: Australischer Goldbarsch.
Standard length 29.5 in (75 cm); weight 53 lb (24 kg); most are smaller. Base color is olive, bronze, or brownish, with distinct yellow ventral surface. Body compressed and elongate, but with concave dorsal profile of the head just above eyes, protruding lower jaw, and strongly arched nape. Caudal fin is truncate, pelvic fins have elongate filaments. There are 8–11 spines and 11–13 soft rays in the dorsal fin, 3 spines and 7–10 soft rays in the anal fin, and 15–18 pectoral fin soft rays.
Lower reaches of the Murray-Darling River system, Dawson- Fitzroy River system in southeastern Queensland, and Bulloo River and Lake Eyre drainages in New South Wales and western Victoria, Australia (the population from the latter locality may be a separate subspecies). Stocked extensively elsewhere, especially in reservoirs.
Turbid, slow-flowing rivers, billabongs, and backwaters, or in clear, fast-flowing rivers. Also in reservoirs. Favors fallen or submerged timber, overhanging banks, and rocky ledges.
Solitary; often associated with structure.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Adults and older juveniles favor macrocrustaceans, mollusks, and smaller fishes; juveniles forage on zooplankton over submerged floodplains.
Females mature in four or more years, males in two to three years. Migrates upstream to spawn and will travel over 1,243 mi (2,000 km) to reach its spawning grounds. Courtship and spawning take place in flooded backwaters. Eggs float after spawning, hatch within 24–36 hours, and larvae disperse downstream. Barriers to migration and corresponding habitats destruction have caused serious declines in recruitment. Cultured artificially for stocking programs.
Not listed by the IUCN, but threatened by habitats destruction.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Mainly a game fish, but a limited commercial fishery exists in the Murray-Darling River system.
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