Marine Life

 The Otago Peninsula is renowned internationally for its abundance of incredible sub-Antarctic wildlife.  Sir David Bellamy, once commented “in my opinion, the Otago Peninsula is the finest example of eco-tourism in the world” Seals and Sea Lions come ashore to lie on the rocks of the Otago Peninsula.  At Taiaroa Head, the Royal Albatross has established its only land-based breeding colony in the world. 


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    Fish and Mammals

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  Fish and Mammals | Invertebrates 

Many-ribbed jellyfish  

Many-Ribbed Jellyfish

Aequorea forskalea



Many small species of jellyfish frequent the area and come and go with different weather patterns and seasons, we had an influx of the many-ribbed jellyfish in the summer of 2012. Most appeared to have be dead and have their tentacles eaten how ever some were still alive and mobile.

Diameters of 15-30cm were common.

Lemon nudibranch  

Lemon Nudibranch

Dendrodoris citrina



The lemon nudibanch's yellow colour is variable, it may be lemon yellow, rust red, orange brown or dirty white. It has a scatter of small bumps along the body, larger darker bumps are obvious but upon closer inspection it it seen the entire body is covered in small white bumps. Abundant in silty harbours they are frequent at both Aramoana and Wellers rock.

Grows up to 75cm in length.




Throughout the seasons we have influxes of krill all around the coast line and this provides a food source for all coastal creatures. During a dive you come upon clouds of krill so thick they somwtimes distort your vision. On night dives they swarm your torch light, tagging along for the entire dive.

Usually seen at lengths between 1-3cm.

Jewel anemone  

Jewel Anemone

Corynactis australis



Jewel anemones are more closely related to corals than true anemones. Their colour is extremely variable with colours coming in a huge range including pink, green, and yellow. They are easily identifiable when they are formed in colonies sometimes covering entire rock faces. Individuals can be seen at Aramoana, Wellers rock, and areas along the coast.

Grows up to 20mm in height, and 15mm width.

Sea snail - Lamellaria cerebroides  

Sea Snail - Lamellaria Cerebroides

Lamellaria cerebroides



This snail has an internal ear shaped shell and the folds on the outside resemble a brain by which it is given its scientific name. When active it reveals its snout and tentaclse which at the base of are its eyes. They are commonly seen at both Aramona and Wellers rock.

Lengths of up to 40mm can be seen.




We have many species of small jellyfish that frequent the mid and surface waters or our dive sites. None and known to be stinging and area great distraction to the macro eye during surface swims.

Ranges but usually no more than 5cm long.

Horse mussel  

Horse Mussel

Atrina zelandica


Fan mussel



Horse mussels are easily identified by their large size and that they sit with most of its length in silty sand or mud and attach themselves to rock or Shell buried underneath. They can be found at Wellers rock over the muddy bottom.

Grows up to 40cm in length.

Golfball sponge  

Golfball Sponge

Tethya citrina



A spherical sponge around the size of a golfball. Yellow sponges are commonly seen but they may vary in colour.

Close to the size of a golfball.

Hermit crab  

Hermit Crab




There are many different species of hermit crab frequenting our local area, that take residency in many different coiled shells of old snails. As they grow they shed their moult and find larger shells to live in. Take the time to watch the entrance of these shells and you will be surprised as to how many are occupied by these small crabs. They are found at almost all dive sites where there is a multitude of shells about.

Size vary from small spiral shells that are occupied to larger shells around 10cm in width.

Glass shrimp  

Glass Shrimp

Palaemon affinis



Small groups of these shrimp can be found underneath the Dunedin harbour structures. They appear to run and then suddenly jump through the water. They are translucent however the body and legs and lined with red stripes.

Seen up to 10cm in length.