Majority of New Zealand native fishes are unique; some of them can only be found in Otago region and nowhere else in the world.
Galaxiids - Otago's unique freshwater fish
The streams and rivers that flow through Otago are home to many species of particularly fascinating galaxiids. These species belong to the ancient family of scaleless fish called Galaxiidae – named so because the beautiful gold flecks and patterns on their backs look like a ‘galaxy’ of stars.
Unlike whitebait, which migrate to sea, many Otago species live out their entire life in the stream or river in which they hatched (hence they are referred to as ‘non-migratory’ galaxiids). Over millennia, many galaxiid populations have become isolated through glaciation and geological events such as mountain building and faulting. These isolated populations evolved into distinct species, each with their own individual features and stories. Today, Otago is a biodiversity ‘hot spot’, home to the majority of New Zealand’s most endangered native fish species.
By Lan Pham