Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis
Ivantsoff, Unmack, Saeed, & Crowley 1991
redfinned blue eye


image 59KK jpeg Male. Gunther Schmida photo.

image 18KK jpeg Male, 20mm (0.8in) TL. Neil Armstrong photo.


To only 28mm (1.12in) TL, making them the smallest freshwater fish in Australia. Ironically, it has the longest scientific name of any!

Conservation Status

Listed as Endangered by the Australian Society for Fish Biology.

Distribution & Abundance

The redfinned blue eye was only discovered in 1989. It was originally recorded from eight springs at Edgbaston Springs. It's abundance and occurrence varies. The redfinned blue eye is presently known from only five springs. The total population is estimated to be between 2,000 and 4,000 individuals (Wager & Unmack in prep.).

Habitat & Ecology

The total surface area of known habitat varies seasonally between approximately 6 to 8km (3 to 5mi). The maximum depth varies from 4 to 11cm (1.6-4.2in), both seasonally and between springs. Maximum and minimum water temperatures recorded in the springs are 38.5C (101F) and 3C (39F) respectively. Diurnal temperatures may vary by 21C (38F). During winter redfinned blue-eyes prefer areas with temperatures above 16C (59F). They co-exist with the Edgbaston goby (Chlamydogobius squamigenus) in two springs, and damnbusia (Gambusia holbrooki) in three springs (Wager & Unmack in prep.).


In aquaria redfinned blue eye over approximately 15 mm lay a few eggs daily at temperatures over 20C, although temperatures over 26C are more productive. In aquaria, a group of 3 males and 5 females produced up to 99 eggs per week. The eggs are spherical and opaque, 1.2 to 1.4 mm diameter, and have filaments that attach to vegetation or the substrate. At 28C hatching occurs in 7 to 10 days. The fry are 4 to 5mm (0.2in) and begin feeding 1 day after hatching (Unmack and Brumley 1991). Little is known of their breeding behaviour in the wild.


The principal threats include damnbusia, sheep and cattle fouling the water, trampling, and dying in the springs., and collection for the aquarium hobby (Wager & Unmack in prep.).

Conservation Action

Captive populations are maintained by members of the Australia New Guinea Fishes Association under supervision of the Queensland Government. Restrictive measures to prevent collection by the aquarium trade has been implemented. A research program to provide further distributional and population data and to monitor introduced species and threatening processes is presently being undertaken by Rob Wager (Queensland Department of Primary Industries, Fisheries) (Wager & Unmack in prep)

Conservation Recommendations

Eliminate the impacts of feral and domestic animals possibly through fencing of the springs. Investigate possibilities for removal of dambusia and methods to prevent further invasions. Re-establish former redfinned blue-eye populations (Wager & Unmack in prep.).

Important References

Ivantsoff, W., Unmack, P., Saeed, B., & Crowley, L E. L. M. 1991. A redfinned blue-eye, a new species and genus of the family Pseudomugilidae from central Western Queensland. Fishes of Sahul. 6(4): 277-282. (Journal of the Australian New Guinea Fishes Association, Australia).

Unmack, P. 1992. Further observations on the conservation status of the redfinned blue-eye. Australian and New Guinea Fishes Association Bulletin. 12: 8-9.

Unmack, P. & Brumley, C. 1991. Initial observations on the spawning and conservation status of the redfinned blue-eye, (Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis). Fishes of Sahul. 6(4): 282-284. (Journal of the Australian New Guinea Fishes Association, Australia).

Wager, R. N. E. & Unmack, P. J. (in prep.) Threatened fishes of the world, Scaturiginichthys vermeilipinnis.

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The Australian desert fishes pages are compiled and maintained by Peter J. Unmack
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This file was last modified:  18 March 2003