Murray Hardyhead

Craterocephalus fluviatilis
Murray Hardyhead - Marinewise © 2023 MarineWise

Quick Facts

Scientific name Craterocephalus fluviatilis
Other names Mitchellian Hardyhead, Western Crat, Western Freshwater Hardyhead
Size Up to 8 cm (3.14 in)
Weight A few grams


Habitat & AU Distribution Known to inhabit slow-moving rivers, creeks, and billabongs, as well as still or slow-flowing water bodies such as ponds and swamps.
Depth Range 0 - 2 m (6 ft)
Murray Hardyhead Distribution

Interesting Info

  • The Murray Hardyhead is a small freshwater fish found in Australia. Commonly found in the Murray-Darling Basin, which is the largest river system in Australia.
  • The species is usually greenish-brown in colour, with a silver-white underside.
  • The Murray Hardyhead is omnivorous, feeding on a variety of small aquatic invertebrates and plants.
  • They are an omnivore, feeding on a variety of small insects, crustaceans, and algae.
  • They are a shoaling fish and is often found in groups of varying sizes.
  • They are known to spawn during the warmer months of the year (usually from October to March). During the breeding season, male Murray Hardyheads develop a distinctive coloration and may become more aggressive in defending their territory. Females can lay up to 300 eggs, which are usually deposited onto aquatic vegetation or other submerged objects.
  • Their lifespan is estimated to be between 1 – 2 years.
Species Interaction

Minimal Species Contact

Engagement with murray hardyheads are limited due to their vulnerable status in the wild and is largely focused on conservation and protection of the species due to their threatened status.

Scientific Classification

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Atheriniformes

Family: Atherinidae

Genus: Craterocephalus

Species: Craterocephalus fluviatilis

Conservation Status

The Murray Hardyhead is listed as a “Critically Endangered” species under the Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999, and is also listed as “Endangered” under the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

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