Balston’s Pygmy Perch

Nannatherina balstoni
Balston's Pygmy Perch - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Nannatherina balstoni
Other names Balston's Perchlet, King River Perchlet
Size Up to 9 cm (3.54 in)
Weight A few grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Freshwater streams & wetlands amongst aquatic vegetation particularly sedge thickets
Depth Range 0 - 4 m (13 ft)
Balston's Pygmy Perch Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Balston’s Pygmy Perch is a small freshwater fish native to the south western parts of Australia, in wetlands.
  • They have a mainly dark brown body with pale blotching and a whitish underside. Some specimens may have a darker mid-lateral stripe bordered by broad yellow-white blotches or stripes.
  • They prefer slow-moving or still waters with vegetation and organic debris, where they can feed on small aquatic invertebrates such as crustaceans and insect larvae.
  • Balston’s Pygmy perch has a one-year life cycle and spawns during flooding from June to early September, with a peak in mid-winter when water levels are highest. Females lay several batches of eggs each day among aquatic vegetation, with up to 1600 eggs per batch. Larvae hatch after 2-4 days.
  • The Balston’s Pygmy Perch is considered to be a threatened species in Australia, and is listed as vulnerable under the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
  • The species has a relatively short lifespan, living for only 1-2 years.
Species Interaction

Minimal Species Contact

Engagement with Balston’s Pygmy Perch are largely focused on conservation and protection of the species due to their threatened status.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Perciformes

Family: Percichthyidae

Genus: Nannatherina

Species: Nannatherina balstoni

Conservation Status

The Balston’s Pygmy Perch is classified as a threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and is listed as endangered under Australia’s national environmental law, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act).

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