The ornate rainbow fish (Rhadinocentrus ornatus) is a small and beautifully coloured freshwater fish. You don’t often spot them straight away in dark creek ways because their colours show when the light catches their scales. Few populations of these fish are scattered in freshwater creeks in parts of Brisbane where I live, and some creek systems in Queensland’s Redlands, Moreton Bay and Byfield regions.
The ornate rainbow fish, also known as soft-spine sun-fish can also be found in Nambucca, New South Wales. Four distinct populations have been found in the areas between Queensland and New South Wales.
The numbers of the ornate rainbow fish have decreased rapidly due to human impact. Urban and rural development have caused experts to fear that certain species of the fish have already been lost forever. Every creek in the parts of Australia where the fish is found, has its own unique population which varies in colour and scientists believe they could also be genetically exclusive. The ornate rainbow fish on average grows five to six centimetres long. They can grow up to 8cm long.
“The sad tale is that every time we lose a population of ornate rainbow fish from a creek system we are effectively losing a very unique group of fish forever”, Wildlife Queensland.
Wildlife Queensland has issued a fact-sheet for voluntary information on spotting of the ornate rainbow fish. They hope this data collection would determine where the fish are still found and how many types are left. The information would also assist Wildlife Queensland to educate the public and minimise threats to the fish life.
To assist in voluntary spotting and documentation, and more information on the ornate rainbow fish, visit: Wildlife Queensland