Map_thumbnail_large_font

Neochanna burrowsius 

Scope: Global
Language: English
Status_ne_offStatus_dd_offStatus_lc_offStatus_nt_offStatus_vu_offStatus_en_offStatus_cr_onStatus_ew_offStatus_ex_off

Translate page into:

Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Actinopterygii Osmeriformes Galaxiidae

Scientific Name: Neochanna burrowsius (Phillipps, 1926)
Common Name(s):
English Canterbury Mudfish
Synonym(s):
Galaxias burrowsius Phillipps, 1926

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B2ab(i,ii,iii,iv) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2014
Date Assessed: 2014-07-15
Assessor(s): West, D, Franklin, P., Crow, S., David, B., Allibone, R, Closs, G., Hitchmough, R., Surrey, G. & Cooper, D.
Reviewer(s): Ling, N. & Gibson, C.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Gibson, C. & Buley, K.
Justification:
The Canterbury Mudfish (Neochanna burrowsius) is endemic to New Zealand where it is confined to the Canterbury Plains in the central eastern part of the South Island. This species is amongst New Zealand's most threatened freshwater fishes owing to very extensive loss of wetland habitats throughout the Canterbury Plains and it is listed as 'Nationally Critical' according to the New Zealand Department of Conservation's threat classification system. Historically it was likely to occupy a diverse range of ephemeral wetland habitats, however it now occupies a tiny proportion of its former range. Several sub-populations have been extirpated over the past decade and it now hangs on as mostly small, relictual populations in fragile wetland remnants that could easily disappear with a change in land use or further intensification of farming practices. The principal threats to this species are habitat loss across its entire range caused by ongoing water abstraction, agricultural development and intensification and change in irrigation methods from border dyke to pumped spray irrigation. Sub-populations in permanently flowing waters throughout its range are also threatened by predation from Brown Trout (Salmo trutta). This species has the highest fecundity of any mudfish species and so they have a relatively good potential for faster population recovery than other species. There have been attempts to translocate this species, which have been carried out with variable success. Water abstraction mitigation effort, planting of riparian vegetation and the creation of predator barriers are now being introduced to key sites, however the impact of these measures on securing this species is currently unknown. Unlike the other New Zealand mudfish species, which have part of the population in habitat protected by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, less than 5% of the area of occupancy (AOO) of this species is found within Department of Conservation reserves. This species is assessed as Critically Endangered based on an area of occupancy of 1.8 km2 (which is less than 0.5% of its inferred historic distribution). The population is severely fragmented and there is an ongoing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO), area of occupancy (AOO), area, extent and quality of habitat and number of sub-populations.
Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:N. burrowsius is endemic to New Zealand where it is now confined to low elevations (up to 420 meters) in the Canterbury Plains, in the central eastern part of the South Island. This species now hangs on as mostly small, relictual populations in fragile wetland remnants that could easily disappear with a change in land use or intensification of farming practices (McDowall 2000). The current estimated area of occupancy (AOO) is 1.8 km2, which is less than 0.5% of its inferred historic distribution (NZFFD 2011; FENZ 2011). The extent of occurrence is calculated as 1,599 km2 (O'Brien and Dunn 2007). Area of occupancy was calculated from intersection of national New Zealand Freshwater Fish Database records with current wetland sites (NZFFD 2011). Extent of occurrence was calculated using an intersection of New Zealand Freshwater Fish database records and spatial representations (polygons) of Freshwater Ecosystems of New Zealand using 3rd order catchments as long catchments (i.e. 4th order and greater) (FENZ 2010, NZFFD 2011).
Countries occurrence:
Native:
New Zealand (South Is.)
Additional data:
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2:1.8
Upper elevation limit (metres):420
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:This species now occupies a tiny proportion of its former range (since human settlement 800 years ago). The population is severely fragmented and several sub-populations have been extirpated over the past decade (McDowall 2000). The population is currently declining as agriculture continues to intensify throughout its entire range. This species is listed as 'Nationally Critical' according to the New Zealand Department of Conservation's threat classification system (Goodman et al. 2014).
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:Historically this species was likely to occupy a diverse range of ephemeral wetland habitats, however it now only lives in springs, slow flowing streams and artificial channels. This species can aestivate among tree roots and in burrows, which allows populations to persist in spring or seepage fed wetland pools and streams with fluctuating water levels and flow. N. burrowsius seldom coexists with other fish species (McDowall 2000).
Systems:Freshwater
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: This species is not utilized.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): This species is amongst New Zealand's most threatened freshwater fishes owing to very extensive loss of wetland habitats throughout the Canterbury Plains. The principal causes of habitat loss are ongoing water abstraction, agricultural development and intensification and change in irrigation methods from border dyke to pumped spray irrigation. Sub-populations in permanently flowing waters throughout its range are threatened by predation from Brown Trout (Salmo trutta).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species has the highest fecundity of any mudfish species and so they have a relatively good potential for faster population recovery than other species. There have been attempts to translocate this species, which have been carried out with variable success. Water abstraction mitigation effort, planting of riparian vegetation and the creation of predator barriers are now  being introduced to key sites, however the impact of these measures on securing this species is currently unknown. Advocacy with land owners to protect wetland remnants has achieved varying success and has not halted the species' decline over the past decade. Unlike the other New Zealand mudfish species, which have part of the population in habitat protected by the New Zealand Department of Conservation, less than 5% of the area of occupancy of this species is found within Department of Conservation reserves (N. Ling, pers comm. 2014).

Citation: West, D, Franklin, P., Crow, S., David, B., Allibone, R, Closs, G., Hitchmough, R., Surrey, G. & Cooper, D. 2014. Neochanna burrowsius. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2014: e.T14505A545821. . Downloaded on 19 November 2017.
Disclaimer: To make use of this information, please check the <Terms of Use>.
Feedback: If you see any errors or have any questions or suggestions on what is shown on this page, please provide us with feedback so that we can correct or extend the information provided