Mitchell Gudgeon (Kimberleyeleotris hutchinsi) is endemic to the Kimberley and is only found in the Mitchell Falls area. This fish is swimming above rocks.

For the first time, a comprehensive new field guide provides detailed information about the incredible diversity of all known freshwater fishes in the Kimberley, as well as their significance to that remarkable part of the world.

The book also includes information about seven new species described by scientists from the University of Melbourne.

A field guide to the freshwater fishes of the Kimberley is the result of a national collaboration between the Western Australian Museum, Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory, University of Melbourne, Murdoch University’s Freshwater Fish Group and Fish Health Unit, and Museums Victoria. Dr James Shelley from the University of Melbourne is the lead author.

WA Museum Aquatic Zoology Curator Dr Glenn Moore and WA Museum Technical Officer Dr Mark Allen co-authored the field guide which documents almost 100 fish species that are known to inhabit fresh waters of the Kimberley, after collecting fishes and surveying the biodiversity and abundance of fishes in the region.

“Whether you are a biologist, resident or visitor, the Kimberley is one of the most remarkable places on Earth and the freshwater fishes that live there are unique and deserve the recognition and interest we hope this book will bring,” Dr Moore said.

The WA Museum’s extensive database of collections and records contributed to the distributional data presented in the field guide.

Readers will now know where freshwater fish species can be found; what they look like and how to tell them apart; what is known about their habitat and biology; the various Aboriginal names for the species; and traditional knowledge regarding some of the species.

This book highlights other species that are yet to be formally described: several of which are currently being studied by Dr Moore and Dr Michael Hammer from the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

“It is extraordinary that in this modern world of ours, new species, such as those featured in this field guide, continue to be discovered right on our very doorstep,” Dr Allen said.

“Hopefully this book and the research that it encapsulates will contribute towards conserving one of Australia’s great wilderness areas.”

Dr Moore said working alongside Traditional Owners on their Country provided wonderful opportunities for sharing traditional knowledge and modern scientific methods.

“This book is the culmination of decades of research by many people – both scientists and non-scientists – and we are excited to be able to bring it all together as a single comprehensive resource,” Dr Moore said.

“We learned from Traditional Owners about ecology and traditional language names, as well as the cultural significance of species and fishing methods.”  

A field guide to the freshwater fishes of the Kimberley guide was supported through an Applied Taxonomy Grant from the Bush Blitz program: a partnership between the Australian Government, BHP Billiton Sustainable Ecosystems and Earthwatch Australia. Copies can be purchased from


Media contact
Sharna Craig
Media and Publicity Officer
Western Australian Museum