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Barramundi

Explore the mangrove swamps of Australia's tropical north, home to frogs, lizards and Australia's second-largest freshwater fish, the Barramundi.

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Barramundi

This species is well adapted to the changing conditions in the northern rivers habitat. It's found in clear or murky water in mangrove estuaries, creeks and rivers and can tolerate high levels of saltwater as well as freshwater.

Barramundi can grow very large, up to 60 kg, and have a varied diet of shellfish, insects and other fish. An ancient species, known to have been around for about 140 million years, the barramundi moves downstream to spawn in coastal shallows or estuaries, before returning to its home river system. Spawning happens at the full moon, when the tide begins to move in: each female lays several million eggs, which are swept into mangrove swamps and estuaries where they hatch within the next 24 hours.

Barramundi grow fast and have been prized for eating over many thousands of years by the indigenous people of Australia. Today, farmed or wild 'barra' is one of Australia's favourite table fish. Because of this, fishing is strictly controlled, but it is also important for the barramundi's continued vitality that its wetland homes are protected.

Barramundis start life as males, reaching maturity at about three or four years old. Then when they are five years old, they start changing into females. Small fish are almost always male, with the percentage of females increasing as the fish get larger.

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