New Caledonia




Aaron Jenkins contributed information to this text.


New Caledonia


Pending review.

Major Habitat Type

Tropical and subtropical coastal rivers

Drainages flowing into

Pacific Ocean

Main rivers to other water bodies

Grand Lac



New Caledonia is an island group located 750 km east of Australia and southwest of Vanuatu in the southwestern Pacific Ocean.

Terrestrial habitats

The ecoregion is composed of New Caledonia moist forests [AA0113] and New Caledonia dry forests [AA0202] (WWF 2001).

Description of endemic fishes

New Caledonia, as a true Gondwanaland fragment, has a relatively high level of endemism with around 10 endemic species. Particularly unique are the subset of endemics including the ancient lineage of Galaxias neocaledonicus, and the potential ancestral gobioid lineages within the family Rhyacichthyidae, Rhyacichthys guilberti and Protogobius attiti.

Other noteworthy fishes

Currently the only species with listing on the IUCN Red List is the Otomebora Mullet (Chelon melinoptera) (IUCN 2012).  Several of the endemics (eg. Galaxias neocaledonicus) should be considered for listing on the basis of restricted habitat and small population size.

Justification for delineation

New Caledonia was defined on the basis of distinctive (endemic or near-endemic) fish faunas such as Galaxias neocaledonicus, Rhyacichthys guilberti and Protogobius attiti.

Level of taxonomic exploration

High. In recent years the French Government has given a bit of attention to the inventory of freshwaters of New Caledonia.  In particular the Paris Museum, through the work of Marquet et al. (2003) and Pöllabauer (1999) has quite thoroughly documented the freshwater of New Caledonia. I’m sure a few areas remain unsurveyed but all of major watersheds I believe have been sampled. There is a field guide available in French to the crustaceans and fishes of New Caledonia (Marquet et al., 2003). The attached species list is compiled from the available literature and Fishbase 2006.


  • Pöllabauer, C. (1999) \Faune ichtyologique et carcinologique de Nouvelle-Calédonie\ Rapport final de l'inventaire des cours d'eau de la Province Sud. ERBIO, pour la Province Sud NC, Direction des Ressources Naturelles.
  • Marquet, G.,Keith, P.;Vigneux, E. (2003). "Atlas des poissons et crustacés d’eau douce de la Nouvelle-Calédonie" 58 MNHN.
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF) (2001) \Terrestrial Ecoregions of the World\ "<"">"
  • IUCN (2012) \IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2012.2\ "<"">" (21 May 2013)