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Otago is home to many species of tiny native fishes called galaxiids, more than in any other part of New Zealand.
The fish shown on the right is a Central Otago roundhead galaxias (Galaxias anomalus). They feed on stream invertebrates such as mayflies and stoneflies, and lay their eggs in the shady vegetation on the banks. As such they require healthy stream conditions with well planted riparian margins.

Photo Credit: Paul Caiger

Longfin Eel Photo: Gusmonkeyboy, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Native eels (tuna) and lamprey migrate hundreds of kilometres from the ocean to live in the Upper Taieri/Taiari.  Tuna will live for up to 100 years in the river system before making their way to the sea to breed. Lamprey migrate the other way, spending much of their adult lives at sea before heading up into the river to breed.

Lamprey are heavily dependent on pheromones released from their larvae in order to find their way upriver, therefore destruction of stream habitat can be devastating for their migratory ability.


The Upper Taieri/Taiari was once a teeming haven for native wildfowl, many species of which are now extinct.

Today, it is still full of ducks and geese, although most of these are introduced species.


Geese in particular are viewed as a pest by local farmers and part of Tiaki Maniototo/Māniatoto's role is managing their numbers through regular culls with Maniototo Pest Management and landowners. 

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New Zealand scaup  Photo: Michal Klajban


Carex tenuiculmis  Photo: John Barkla

Endangered Plants

The threatened native plants Lepidium sisymbrioides, mousetail (Myosurus minimus subsp. novae-zelandiae) (a spring annual), Carex tenuiculmis (a sedge) and Deschampsia cespitosa (a grass) can be found on the scroll plain.

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