The ornate rainbowfish, Rhadinocentrus ornatus, (also known as the soft-spined sunfish) is a unique and beautiful native freshwater fish found in only a few locations in the Greater Brisbane/Redlands region including the larger sand islands of Moreton Bay, and with a patchy distribution through coastal creeks from Byfield, Queensland to Nambucca, New South Wales.
Its distribution has contracted as a consequence of urban and rural development and exacerbated by altered hydrology and water quality. Habitat alteration and urban development are still having negative impacts in several areas. Extensive sampling in rivers and streams of the south-east Queensland mainland over the last few years has yielded relatively few individuals.
The sad tale is that every time we lose a population of ornate rainbowfish from a creek system we are effectively losing a very unique group of fish forever.
In 2010 Wildlife Queensland Bayside Branch commenced a collaborative project to find these beautiful fish. Recent surveys by members of WPSQ Bayside Branch have located three additional populations in the Redland district within a creek systen already known to have fish. Hopefully as more streams are surveyed other populations will be located.