February 14, 2020

Summer 2020

This project is overdue for an update. Fantastic observations keep being added at a steady rate, these have now reached 2400, and the species count is now 400. Below is a purely eclectic selection of some of my favourite recent additions:

• Predation on Ericentrus rubrus by a redbilled gull captured by @goodonya (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38631492)

• The beautiful saccoglossan slug Oxynoe viridis on a frond of the green alga Caulerpa geminata encrusted with small patches of the epiphytic coralline alga Pneophyllum coronatum photographed by @sarahmilicich (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/37607827).

• The images of the delicate siphosome of Rosacea sp., a siphonophore, by @nicolemiller (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36564540). Identification of this was a real group effort involving @wyattp11, Dr Dennis Gordon (NIWA) and Dr Gillian Mapstone (the Natural History Museum, London).

Posted on February 14, 2020 23:15 by clinton clinton | 0 comments | Leave a comment

December 11, 2019

Subtropical visitor spotted in Taputeranga Marine Reserve

The cosmopolitan tropical - subtropical salp Cyclosalpa bakeri was recently snapped in the marine reserve - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36457618#activity_comment_3796894. Please keep an eye out for any more occurrences of this distinctive species, or its close relative C. affinis.

Posted on December 11, 2019 09:13 by clinton clinton | 0 comments | Leave a comment

July 03, 2019

Unicorn discovered in Island Bay

On June 27 @kelvinperrie photographed the beach cast carcass of a large leatherjacket not far from the Island Bay Marine Education Centre (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28086555). The somewhat unusual looking fish turned out to be a unicorn or smooth leatherjacket (Aluterus monoceros). Aluterus monoceros is a large species of leatherjacket that attains a maximum total length of at least 76.2 cm and a maximum published weight of 2.7 kg. It is a tropical-subtropical species with a circumglobal distribution. In life adults are coloured pale grey with faint spotting along the back. Juveniles are pelagic and have a complex reticulate colour pattern of pale lines and greyish blotches. The name unicorn leatherjacket refers to the very long, slender dorsal-fin spine located above the eyes. Adult unicorn leatherjackets feed on benthic invertebrates and are usually found on or near deep reefs (to at least 110 m depth). The pelagic juveniles are often found sheltering around flotsam and jellyfishes. At times adults have also been observed in large schools beneath weed-rafts. This species is infrequently recorded from New Zealand waters (North Cape to Golden Bay). The one and only individual I have seen was caught in an inshore trawl in Hawke Bay in the mid 1990s. Recently however there have been several others recorded from the Wellington region. One was speared off Warehou Bay, Makara, in May (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/25653642), and like the Island Bay specimen two were found washed ashore at Paraparaumu Beach in June (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26936301; https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26936301).

Posted on July 03, 2019 23:08 by clinton clinton | 1 comments | Leave a comment

May 13, 2019

Summer 2018-19 Round-up

With autumn finally making an appearance it is timely to have a look back over the summer that was. Thanks to all of those keen eyes and some extremely talented photographers out there the number of observations captured by the project has reached 2071, representing at least 366 species. The summer saw observations of big nests of rock lobster and big schools of large blue moki mooching over the reefs, and well as swimming flatworms and baby reef squid.

Some of my favourites were:

Orange clinid (Ericentrus rubrus), a common but seldom noticed live-bearing fish - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/24916363
Triangle Crab Eurynolambrus australis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22741981
Cyclosalpa affinis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22211421
Mitrocoma cellularia - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22133451

The tiny saccoglossan sea slugs:
Oxynoe viridis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22058362
Sacoproteus smaragdinus - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22058461

The rare nudibranch Tritonia flemingi - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19978376

The tiny box jellyfish Carybdea sivickisi taking a rest on a bed of Ulva - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19872914

Pin cushion sea star (Eurygonias hylacanthus) - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19751818

A big conger (Conger verreauxi) covered with scars from octopus suckers - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19626070

Tiny red sea cucumber Squamocnus brevidentis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?page=3&place_id=any&project_id=taputeranga-marine-reserve&verifiable=any and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19421876

The mystery critter photographed in Owhiro Bay by @Wild_Wind in January - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19422554

The siphonophore Abylopsis eschscholtzi - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19098458

Posted on May 13, 2019 23:47 by clinton clinton | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 05, 2018

Spring is in the ... tidal current

This project is knocking on the door of 1300 observations, making it the largest and most successful of the New Zealand marine reserve projects to date.

With another substantial contribution of observations from Donnacha Ó Súilleabháin it is apparent that spring is on its way. Many of the male triplefins photographed in the reserve recently are in their breeding colours meaning they're likely to be courting females and guarding eggs.

Observations from last summer indicate it was a good one for the recruitment of leatherjackets and trevally on to the South Coast with large numbers of recently settled juveniles photographed in the marine reserve. Juveniles of several other species of interest were also noted in the reserve, those being magpie morwong, goatfish and red moki.

Donnacha Ó Súilleabháin has also posted several images of an undescribed species of anemone ('Undescribed species 1, pp 164-165, New Zealand Coastal Marine Invertebrates) found in the reserve (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/15130946, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/14879709). Although undescribed, this species is common on subtidal rocky reefs from Northland to Stewart Island. The fact that it remains undescribed highlights how little we know about even common coastal species.

Posted on August 05, 2018 21:59 by clinton clinton | 0 comments | Leave a comment

May 02, 2018

Mystery of the orange anemone solved (for now)

Well after much debate we seem to have solved the mystery of the small orange anemones first observed by @donnacha . It looks like his hunch (https://inaturalist.nz/observations/9896191#comment-1353340) was right as the current consensus of opinion is that they are the southern New Zealand species Habrosanthus bathamae (Sagartiidae) - see https://inaturalist.nz/observations/11720421. The few images of this species available online show specimens exposed at low water that are much more brightly coloured than the ones so far photographed in the marine reserve. Its not clear to me at least if this is a photographic artifact, or because of the relatively small size of the ones seen so far. That aside, reference to Steve Cook's 'New Zealand Coastal Marine Invertebrates' revealed images of specimens identified as H. bathamae (pg. 162) that are almost identical to those photographed by @sarahmilicich. The Cook book does it again.

Posted on May 02, 2018 10:13 by clinton clinton | 1 comments | Leave a comment

March 20, 2018

Progress report March 20, 2018

As of this morning this project contained 924 observations covering at least 235 mainly marine species (there are a couple of terrestrial interlopers that have been recorded on the fringe of the intertidal zone or foraging in it at low water).

The coverage of observations is best along the rocky coastline, with relatively few from the beaches and virtually none at all from the western edge of the reserve, around Taputeranga Island or in the deep offshore areas.

The number of subtidal observations has recently been boosted by Donnacha Ó Súilleabháin's (donnacha) contributions, particularly his documentation of the occurrences of a juvenile magpie morwong, a juvenile goatfish (aka red mullet) and a potentially undescribed species of anemone (https://inaturalist.nz/observations/10111167) in the reserve. Identification (or not) of the anemone benefited greatly from Tony Wills' contributions and those of Michela Mitchell, Museum Victoria. More of this interesting little critter can be seen at https://inaturalist.nz/observations/9902887 and https://inaturalist.nz/observations/9918104. It would be really interesting to get more observations of this species, inside and outside the marine reserve, so that we can get a better understanding of its distribution.

Posted on March 20, 2018 03:47 by clinton clinton | 0 comments | Leave a comment

February 15, 2018

Australian immigrant spotted on the South Coast.

Congratulations to Donnacha Ó Súilleabháin for his observation of a juvenile magpie perch/magpie morwong (Cheilodactylus nigripes) hiding among paua on the wreck of the Yung Pen, Owhiro Bay, on 14 February (https://inaturalist.nz/observations/9862868). Although the first record of this species from New Zealand waters dates back to 1915, relatively few have been observed since then. A close relative of the more familiar red moki (Cheilodactylus spectabilis) this species is common in southern Australia (South Australia, Victoria, southern NSW) where it inhabits coastal reefs between 1-30 m depth. Almost all reports from New Zealand have been from the west coasts of North and South Islands, from Fiordland to Northland, suggesting they arrived here as larvae that were spawned across the Tasman. Most reports have been of individual fish but in December 2004 I found them to be relatively common along the Abel Tasman coastline in Tasman Bay, occasionally seeing more than one on a dive. Donnacha's observation appears to be the first record of the species from Wellington's South Coast but I stand to be corrected on that.

Posted on February 15, 2018 01:59 by clinton clinton | 0 comments | Leave a comment