Oxleyan Pygmy Perch

How to identify an Oxleyan Pygmy Perch

Scientific name

Nannoperca oxleyana

Status in NSW



Oxleyan Pygmy Perch is a small light brown to olive fish that can be distinguished by:

  1. Small mouth reaching just below the eye
  2. Blue ring around the eye
  3. One deeply notched dorsal fin
  4. Dark spot with orange rim at the base of the tail


They can grow to about 60mm in length but are more commonly seen around 35mm long.

Species similar in appearance

Other species of pygmy perch


Oxleyan Pygmy Perch is a small freshwater fish endemic to the coastal region of eastern Australia from northern NSW to south-eastern Queensland. They also occur on Fraser, Moreton and Stradbroke Islands. They have specific habitat requirements and are patchily distributed within this range.


Oxleyan Pygmy Perch mostly occur in swamps, creeks and lakes of coastal ‘walum’ swamps (Banksia-dominated coastal heath). They prefer slow-moving or still waters with plenty of in-stream aquatic vegetation or root-filled banks fringed with river-bank vegetation.

An example of Oxleyan Pygmy Perch habitat

Why is the Oxleyan Pygmy Perch threatened?

  • Habitat degradation due to increased sedimentation from coastal development, road construction and loss of river-bank vegetation
  • Water quality decline due to nutrient enrichment and contamination from toxic substances in some areas
  • Competition from introduced fish such as mosquito fish (Gambusia holbrooki)
  • Collection for aquaria

Oxleyan Pygmy Perch (Photo: G. Schmida)

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