Kurtus gulliveri

Kurtus gulliveri, the nurseryfish, is a species of nurseryfish native to fresh and brackish waters in southern New Guinea and northern Australia.[1][2] They can be found in estuaries, mangrove swamps, nipa swamps and slow-flowing rivers with high turbidity. This species can reach a length of 63 cm (25 in),[3] although most are far smaller: In a study of its morphology, 159 specimens were examined and the largest was 33 cm (13 in), while the average was 14 cm (5.5 in).[2] This species is famous for its unusual breeding strategy where the male carries the egg cluster on a hook protruding from the forehead (supraoccipital).[2] Females do not have a hook.[2] It feeds on crustaceans (especially prawn and shrimp), small fish and insect larvae.[4] This species is well regarded as food.[3] The specific name honours a "Mr Gulliver" who collected the type, thought most likely to refer to Thomas Allen Gulliver (1847-1931) who worked on Australia's a post and telegraph services and who lived near the Norman River, Gulf of Carpentaria where he collected natural history specimens and where the type of this species was collected.[5]

Kurtus gulliveri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Kurtiformes
Family: Kurtidae
Genus: Kurtus
K. gulliveri
Binomial name
Kurtus gulliveri
Castelnau, 1878


  1. Jenkins, A.; Kullander, F.F. & Tan, H.H. (2009). "Kurtus gulliveri". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2009: e.T169365A6612450. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2009-2.RLTS.T169365A6612450.en.
  2. Berra, T.B. (2003). Nurseryfish, Kurtus gulliveri (Perciformes: Kurtidae), from northern Australia: redescription, distribution, egg mass, and comparison with K. indicus from southeast Asia. Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwaters 14(4): 295-306.
  3. Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2013). "Kurtus gulliveri" in FishBase. August 2013 version.
  4. Berra, T.B.; and Wedd, D. (2001). Alimentary canal anatomy and diet of the nurseryfish, Kurtus gulliveri (Perciformes: Kurtidae) from the Northern Territory of Australia. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 17: 21-25.
  5. Christopher Scharpf & Kenneth J. Lazara (31 May 2018). "Order KURTIFORMES (Nurseryfishes and Cardinalfishes)". The ETYFish Project Fish Name Etymology Database. Christopher Scharpf and Kenneth J. Lazara. Retrieved 17 September 2018.

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