Keywords: New zealand, NZ, fish, fishes, schoolfish,
all photos A5 quality unless otherwise indicated.
f005312: a posse of young kingfish passes by to satisfy their
curiosity. After only a few passes, they get bored and carry on with their
hunt, out of sight from divers. Remarkably, each individual has its own
characteristic markings, by which it is identified. (Seriola grandis)
f007209: a female leatherjacket comes close to inspect the
photographer. These fish are such a joy for divers, because they inspect
the gleaming cameras and lights, and they play with the divers' bubbles.
f000904: a leatherjacket gives a diver's finger a little
nip, to find out what it is made of. These fish even feed from poisonous
some of which resemble this outstretched finger.
f000909: male leatherjacket with a skin fungus disease.
f026010: many leatherjackets along offshore islands suffer
from a black-spot skin disease. (Parika scaber)
f007721: silver drummers are not uncommon, but they live
in wave-washed shallow areas, grazing the seaweeds there. Easily caught
in set-nets, their numbers have dwindled considerably. So happening upon
a group of about 30 very old and large ones, is a rare event. (Keyphosus
f007724: only by keeping still amongst the cover of stalked
kelp, did the fish dare to come near the photographer. Curious as they
are, they are also about equally wary. These fish kept a keen eye on the
photographer, while passing by. (Keyphosus sydneyanus)
f007727: in a rare occasion of trust, these large silver
drummer carry on with their duties as they are being observed from close
up. The reason for their assembly is the little trevally cleanerfish, fisible
at the top, facing the nose-up drummer who has turned silver for the occasion.
The others wait patiently for their turn, face-down with their fins coloured
black, similar to their pyjamas at night, as if they are saying 'I am not
f007729: once the cleanerfish has arrived at its client's
tail, it becomes the next client's turn. The waiting fish signal each other
with colour changes in their skins and tails, and with their postures.
These fish have lived together as one group for perhaps twenty years, and
they know one another very well. (Keyphosus sydneyanus)
f007734: a close pass of large and old silver drummers.
f007736: a silver drummer passes by for a good look at the
f007732: a mature male butterfish is difficult to photograph
because he is very shy. Butterfishes are all born female, but the oldest
and largest may turn into a beautiful male with long drooping fins and
a blue 'moko' on its face. Meeting such a fish at night, when he is most
beautifully coloured, is truly a spectacular experience. (Odax pullus)
f007733: butterfish are at home in the stalked kelp (Ecklonia
radiata) which is also their food.
f008706: snapper closeup in natural light (Pagrus auratus)
f017809: closeup of a large snapper, named Panda on account
of its dark eyes and dark snout. This snapper has amazed many in the safety
of the Goat Island marine reserve.
f017813: study of Panda's face under varying light conditions.
f030108: a young snapper [A4]
f030211: in marine reserves, some big snapper become trusting
of humans, to the delight of both. [A4]
f008513: a snapper has claimed a sheltered territory near
a rocky overhang, between tall seaweeds. Some snapper adhere to the coast,
and change their colour from pink to brownish.
f017921: the legendary 'Monkeyface', a very large snapper
living in the Goat Island marine reserve.
f002607: closeup of a mature blue cod. (Parapercis colias)
f011126: New Zealand used to have untold many shoals of surface-feeding
fish like this mixed kahawai-trevally school near Cape Brett. In its frenzy,
the school drives planktonic shrimps to the surface, where they cannot
escape. Sea birds wait patiently but nervously for a share in the banquet.
bio07: this diagram shows how kahawai drive their prey to
the surface in a continuous motion. The fish in the rear, discover that
there is no food left for them, and they dive underneath, to surface before
the ones in front. In doing so, they also drive the shrimps to the surface
in a rolling, continuous motion.
f019812: closeup of young trevally. (Pseudocaranx dentex)
f023737: a school of young trevally resting in the shelter
of a cove at the Poor Knights Islands. (Pseudocaranx dentex)
f023304: cathedral light, silver trevally and Lessonia
kelp. (Pseudocaranx dentex)
f024634: a school consisting mainly of trevally, with here
and there a blue maomao.
f024633: continuation of the school on left. (Pseudocaranx
f021031: a school of mature jack mackerels resting near the
bottom, above the safe refuge of the stalked kelp. Trachurus novaezelandiae
f021026: contiuation of the previous photo. Trachurus
f023625: meeting a school of pink maomao gives one a sense
of being in another world. These plankton-feeding, slow moving fish, related
to perches, take their planktonic food in depths of 15-40m. In these depths,
there is less food than at the surface, but these fish live very frugally
and grow rather old. Here a diver aims her light on the school, changing
the colours of nearby fish into bright pink. The others find this interesting,
and approach inquisitively with care.
f024225: a school of pink maomao was sleeping in dense formation
when it was disturbed by our presence. Here the elegant fish are slowly
making their way to the depth.
f020700: when sleeping at night, pink maomao change their
colours as shown here. Although pelagic, these fish depend on the rocky
shore for protection. Caprodon longimanus
f029718: young pink maomao are rarely seen, suggesting that
this species reproduces slowly and only occasionally. This young pink maomao,
photographed at night, is only half the size of a mature one. (Jan 2002)
f019936: a large red moki is seen working the pink turf with
its broad lips. It shakes snails and sea slaters from their sheltered positions
inside the hardy stone-leaved turf with a loud suck, then sieves the content
from sand. Cheilodactylus spectabilis
f016915: the number one requirement for red moki is a sheltering
cave to spend the night. This prevents them from roaming around freely,
which also keeps them inside the marine reserve. Their numbers rebounded
spectacularly. Here is a moki 'hole' with only a dozen mokis. Some moki
holes count over 80 individuals!
f001227: parore are plant eaters with fused teeth. They can
change the colour of their skins from pale white through olive green to
black. They also have preferred 'suits', like this pin-striped business
suit. Girella tricuspidata
f000832: rather than eating the tough brown seaweeds, parore
nibble the lush algae growing on these weeds, and which when left unchecked,
could smother the host. Parore thus provide an indispensable cleaning service
to nearly all plants of the reef community. They are also instrumental
in keeping mussel cultures clean. Unfortunately, they are also hunted to
near extinction with nylon set nets, for bait in crayfish pots.
f000932: a group of parore sociably feeding on a patch of
bladder weeds. Girella tricuspidata
f000718: a parore in olive suit, working the bladderweeds
of a shallow, exposed site. Girella tricuspidata
f002220: a social group of parore sunbathing in the shelter
of an overhang. They often wait here for a trevally cleaner fish to arrive.
f001820: a group of parore speeding home to their sleeping
den, behind this rock. One of them halts to inspect the strange photographer.
f001228: a group of parore being cleaned by a trevally cleaner
f021328: a john dory photographed by night. Notice the curvature
inside its eye. It allows fish vision 180 degrees around. Zeus faber
f006019: although john dory are compulsive hunters, they
now and then do pause. This one had parked itself in a recess outside the
current. Zeus faber
f017712: john dory are quite inventive in their hunting strategies.
Here one is seen flat on its side, mimicking a green seaweed, complete
with colour change. In the top right corner, its prey, a school of wary
jack mackerels can be seen. John dory's swim bladders are so finely balanced,
that they can swim in any position, even upside down. At the entrances
of caves, one can see them upside down at the ceiling, 'thinking' that
the bright sandy bottom below, is the sky.
f017714: the hunt seen from a low perspective. Zeus faber