Invertebrates

Marine Invertebrates on the Otago coastline are plentiful. With so many different species, colours, textures and shapes every dive is different.


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    Fish and Mammals

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    Invertebrates

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    List


  Fish and Mammals

Crayfish  

Crayfish

Jasus edwardsii

 

Spiny rock lobster

 

Invertebrate

Famous throughout New Zealand the crayfish is unmistakable for it's appearance on a dinner plate. The Otago harbour provides a nursery for small crayfish, they can be seen on dives around rocky walls and reefs. The outer offshore reefs provide great structure made up of boulders and broken reef for larger crayfish to congregate.

Maximum total body length is 58 cm for males, and 43 cm for females.

Octopus (smaller)  

Octopus (Smaller)

Octopus huttoni

 

Invertebrate

The smaller octopus - octopus huttoni are usually seen about the size of your fist, and tend to be more frequently sighted on night dives as they emerge to feed. They tend to be more fearful compared to other octopus, perhaps realising their size makes them an easy meal for predators. These small octopus make homes out of almost anything, old cans, and bottles that have been discarded will often hold octopus.

Up to 57cm in total length.

Yellow-foot paua  

Yellow-foot paua

Haliotis australias

 

Queen paua

 

Invertebrate

The yellow-foot paua has a smaller and more elevated shell compared to the more common black-foot paua. It's shell is reddish to yellowish brown, the animal is black but it's tentacles and underside of the foot are yellow. It can be found on rocky reefs and wave exposed coasts usually in depth ranges between 1-5m. This paua is fished recreationally, and although quota is allocated for the species, it is not commercially harvested extensively. In the shallows of Aramoana especially in the first 1-2m the small yellow-foot paua are easily located.

Adults can grow up to 100mm in length.

Kina  

Kina

Evechinus chloroticus

 

Sea urchin, or sea egg

 

Invertebrate

The kina is a round shelled animal covered in spikes. Divers should be wary not rest or press against a kina as it can puncture and cause injury. They are herbivores and graze on algae covered reefs. Often kina have eaten away all plant life on a particular piece of reef known as kina barrens. They fall prey to many other invertebrates including the eleven armed seastar and crayfish. Large aggregations can be found on the off shores reefs such as Moeraki where they have cleared certain areas of algae.

Diameters of up to 20cm have been recorded.

White-striped anemone  

White-Striped Anemone

Anthothoe albocincta

Invertebrate

The white-striped anemone is the most common anemone encountered in shallow water. It's column is orange to brown and striped with white, Its disc is flat, bright orange and surrounded by it's white tentacles. It can defend it's self by shooting stinging cells from small openings in its column. Some boulders at the entance of the harbour provide area for great numbers of white-striped anemones.

Height and diameter can both be as large as 20mm.

Wellington nudibranch  

Wellington nudibranch

Doris wellingtonensis

 

Invertebrate

The wellington nudibranch is the largest nudibranch found in New Zealand. It is covered in round pustules, and is stiff and slimy to touch. It ranges in colour from yellow green to pale purple. Unlike other nudibranchs it's gills cannot be retracted. It lays large spawn masses that look like thin yellow roses. Wellington nudibranchs are very commonly found at the entrance area of the Oatgo harbour.

May grow up to 30cm, but a length of 10cm is more common for adults.

Shield shell  

Shield Shell

Scutus breviculus

 

Ducks bill limpet

 

Invertebrate

It's shell is often completely covered in black velvety flesh, but can sometimes be seen through a gap in the covering. Two antennae indicate the location of its head and mouth. It is given the common name ducks bill limpet after the shape of it shell resembling a ducks bill. It is found in large aggregations at some dive sites inside the harbour including Wellers rock.

May reach up to 170mm long, and 110mm wide.

Yellow encrusting sponge  

Yellow Encrusting Sponge

Darwinella oxeata

 

Invertebrate

This sponge is endemic to New Zealand, it forms thin encrusting mats on rocky surfaces. It is bright yellow, soft and compressible to touch. It's commonly seen encrusting the boulders and wrecks of the Aramoana.

It can grow up to 20cm in diameter, and 3cm in thickness.

Sea centipede  

Sea Centipede

Idotea stricta

 

Invertebrate

Sea centipedes have long bodies that consist of 8-10 plates. They live on seaweeds in the intertidal and shallow subtidal zone. They graze on seaweed and tend to match their colour with the weed they live on. They are often spotted on night dives within the harbour.

Commonly seen up to 6cm in length.