First evidence of spawning migration by goldfish (Carassius auratus); implications for control of a globally invasive species

Stephen J. Beatty, Mark G. Allen, Jeff M. Whitty, Alan J. Lymbery, James J. Keleher, James R. Tweedley, Brendan C. Ebner, David L. Morgan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Goldfish (Carassius auratus) was one of the first fishes to be domesticated and has been widely introduced across the globe, but is now considered one of the world's worst invasive aquatic species. Surprisingly, there is a dearth of information on its spatial and temporal movement patterns, which hampers the development of effective control programmes. We examined the movement patterns of an introduced population of C. auratus in a south-western Australian river using passive acoustic telemetry. The study population had a high residency index within the array (i.e. proportion of all days at liberty that, on average, each fish was detected by a receiver) with fish being detected on 64% of days. The individuals were also reasonably mobile, travelling a mean of 0.30 km (linear river kilometres).day-1 within the array, and one fish moved 231.3 km over the 365-day study period (including 5.4 km in a 24 hr period). Importantly, C. auratus displayed significant seasonal movement patterns including a clear shift in habitats during its breeding period with most mature individuals being detected in an off-channel wetland during that time. The results of this study strongly suggest that C. auratus undertook a spawning migration into a lentic habitat. These results have important implications for developing control programmes for the species, such as targeting connections to off-channel lentic systems during its breeding period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-455
Number of pages12
JournalEcology of Freshwater Fish
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project was supported by Murdoch University through the Australian Government's Caring for our Country programme and GeoCatch. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support and advice given to them throughout this study from the Vasse Wonnerup Pest Fish Steering Committee, comprising of Jim Lane, Kim Williams and Alan Clarke (Department of Parks and Wildlife), Kath Lynch, Krish Seewraj and Jenelle Carter (Department of Water), Bruce Mackay, Michael Burgess, Claire Taylor (Department of Fisheries, Government of Western Australia), Jen Mitchell and Sally Clifton Parks (GeoCatch), Emily Hugues dit Ciles and Craig Bohm (South West Catchments Council) and Will Oldfield (Shire of Busselton). Fieldwork was conducted under Murdoch University Animal Ethics permit number R2515/12 and Department of Fisheries, Government of Western Australia permit number 2096. The authors would like to acknowledge the Noongar people who are the traditional custodians of the land on which this research took place.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 John Wiley & Sons A/S. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd


  • Cyprinidae
  • acoustic telemetry
  • alien species
  • fish migration
  • freshwater fish


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