Common name: Common Galaxias. Scientific name: Galaxias maculatus. Family: Galaxiidae.

Common Galaxias: Found from Chile to Eastern Australia, Tasmania, West Australia and New Caledonia. It is a small narrow fish growing to about 120mm but can “reach” 180mm. While Whitebait is the most common name, other names include cowfish, jollytail, common jollytail, eel gudgeon, lananga, native trout, pulangi, slippery tarki and spotted minnow.

Unless they are trapped in a landlocked lake, the fish spawn downstream in rivers and creeks in the vegetation on banks of the estuary regions during a spring tide in autumn. (Note: when the range – between high and low – of a tide is at its maximum it is know as a spring tide. This has nothing to do with the season.) The eggs stay on the banks out of the water until the next spring tide when they hatch and are swept out to sea. For about six months the larvae live in the sea and develop into juvenile fish, often referred to as whitebait.

When they are about 30 mm in length and 3–4 mm in width they swim up a river on the incoming tide until they reach a suitable habitat where they develop into the adult form.

They only live for about a year and usually die after spawning.


  1. Pernickety I know, but it’s inanga not ianaga. This is the Maori name for whitebait (at least the adults) in NZ. See The young are good eating especially in a batter based pattie.

Commenting on this post has been disabled.