The Black Mudfish’s scientific name is Neochanna diversus. There are five species of mudfish in New Zealand all of which are threatened: Northland Mudfish, Black Mudfish, Brown Mudfish, Canterbury Mudfish and the Chatham Island Mudfish.
Little is known about the habitat of the black mudfish. Like many native fish, they are shy and most people are unaware of their existence. Their habitat ranges from large wetlands to small swampy streams.
Sites with mudfish generally have overhanging vegetation and tree roots, and demonstrate low to moderate human impact. Once widespread in swamps and wetlands, mudfish are now found in only a few sites and mostly on private land.
Mudfish can do something that most other fish can’t: they can survive without water for almost two months! All they need is vegetative cover to keep themselves moist. Then, when summer is over and water returns to the wetland, they can eat, swim and breed. This type of adaptive behaviour means that mudfish can live in places other fish can’t.
Did you know? Mudfish/kowaro are regarded as a treasured species by iwi.