SPECIES MACCULLOCHELLA PEELII
The cod is an iconic animal in Aboriginal and European cultures. It is a relatively recent coloniser of Australia’s inland waterways.
Originally distributed widely across the inland rivers, creeks and wetlands of QLD, NSW, VIC and SA, Murray cod have declined dramatically in distribution and numbers since European arrival. After European settlement, the numbers of Murray cod reduced extensively because of the changes to the habitat, overfishing and water pollution.
Murray cod are an ambush predator. They etablish a home territory around or close to underwater features such as rock formations, submerged or fallen trees and undercut riverbanks. Then, they move away from this cover to hunt in periods of low light or in the darkness of night.
Because they are cold blooded, the animals the Murray cod hunts and eats are determined by water and air temperature.
There are many captive breeding programmes that specialise in breeding and releasing young Murray cod back into waterways of their natural distribution.
Murray cod still face an uncertain future. Their main threats are illegal fishing activity, water pollution, habitat degradation and habitat fragmentation.
Some Dreamtime stories say the Murray River was created by the tail of a giant Murray cod that was being chased by a fisherman in a canoe.