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Movements of Macquaria ambigua, in the Murray River, south-eastern Australia


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A 2 year (2000–2001) radio-tagging study was undertaken to investigate the movements of 51 golden perch Macquaria ambigua in the Murray River at Nyah in north-western Victoria, Australia. During the winter of both years, golden perch did not undertake movements >5 km and displayed strong home range fidelity. In the first year of the study there was an increase in the distance of golden perch movement during late spring which coincided with increasing water temperature and river discharge. Nineteen golden perch were tracked during this period, of which 10 travelled downstream between 11 and 290 km. Seven of these fish moved to an area below the junction of the Murray and Wakool Rivers. Five golden perch travelled upstream between 13 and 35 km, four of which travelled to an area around the junction of the Murray River and Speewa Creek. The remaining four golden perch undertook localized movements of <5 km. Many of the long distance movements undertaken in spring 2000 were rapid and 53% of these golden perch returned to within 3 km of their release locations, indicating homing behaviour. Given that the rapid movements of golden perch in spring coincided with the known spawning season of this species, these long distance movements may be associated with reproductive strategy.