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. 


Galleries

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    Fish and Mammals

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    Invertebrates

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    List


  Fish and Mammals | Invertebrates 

Beaked Salmon  

Beaked Salmon

Gonorynchus greyi

Sandfish

FISH and Mammals

Beaked salmon have a long eel like body with a pointed snout, they are brown in colour and have a black top on their dorsal fin and two black stripes along the tail. They are nocturnal and sleep under the mud or sand by day and only emerge at night to forage amongst the seafloor for food. When disturbed they speed into the sand or mud only to disappear again. Night dives at Aramoana canprovide large numbers of beaked salmon out over the sand.

May grow up to 60cm in length but sizes around 30cm are more common.

Blue cod  

Blue cod

Parapercis colias

FISH and Mammals

Blue cod are famous throughout new Zealand for its presence as a great table fish. They are very inquisitive and will closely approach divers and then sit and observe. They usually swim using their pectoral fins and use the snap of their tail from short burst of speed. Blue cod are not actually a cod but instead come from the weever family. They can be found on the sand at Aramona, and areas of sand and broken reef such as the offshore reefs of Moeraki.

Reaches sizes of up to 65cm in length.

Blue Moki  

Blue Moki

Latridopsis ciliaris

FISH and Mammals

Blue-grey above, silver below, the blue moki has large and fleshy lips. They form large schools, and are mainly found over sandy or muddy bottoms. Juveniles less than 30cm live mainly on reefs. Eat crabs, shellfish, worms and other crustaceans which they suck from sandy/muddy bottoms. Aramoana provides shelter for smaller fish and schools of blue moki, larger fish can be found on offshore reefs such as around Moeraki and Karitane.

May grow up to 90cm and weigh over 10kg, the oldest recorded fish is 43 years old.

Black goby  

Black Goby

Gobiopsis Atara

FISH and Mammals

The black goby is dark grey or brown and has white mottling on its round flattened head and upper back. They are very secretive and rarely seen, they like crevices and overhangs that they can dart back into when disturbed. The have been seen occasionally at Wellers rock in the crevices along the wall on night dives.

May grow up to 9cm in length.

Blue warehou  

Blue warehou

Seriolella brama

Common Warehou

FISH and Mammals

Blue grey to silver the warehou has a large black notch above its pectoral fin. Warehou are not commonly seen but juveniles are seen at some differing times of the year schooling at the Otago harbour entrance.

Fish seen are usually no bigger than 30cm.

Blue-eyed triplefin  

Blue-eyed Triplefin

Notoclinops segmentatus

FISH and Mammals

Named after its bright blue eyes, the blue eyed triplefin is silver with 9 red bands down the body. It is a small triplefin that is seen sitting or making quick jerky movements about reefs only to sit again. It can be seen cleaning small parasites from other larger fish. Aramoana has a large number of blue-eyed triplefins however they are very small so you need to pay close attention.

May reach up to 6cm in length.

Brown topknot  

Brown Topknot

Notoclinus compressus

FISH and Mammals

The brown topknot is variable in colour but is often a ready brown. It has transparent windows in its fins and sometimes its body to aid in camouflage. It differs from the topknot - notoclinus fenestratus by not being so large and having a smaller mouth and larger eye. These are commonly found at Wellers rock throughout the brown seaweeds, but are difficult to spot because of there well blending camouflage.

Lengths of up to 13cm may be reached.

Broadnose sevengill shark  

Broadnose Sevengill Shark

Notorynchus cepedianus

FISH and Mammals

The broadnose sevengill shark is grey or brown with small black and white spots, with a white underside. They are rather curious sometimes bumping objects including divers with their snout. They prey on octopus, fish, seals and dolphins, and hunt by stealth in dark and dirty water. They are more frequently seen in the summer months around the Otago harbour but only a half dozen are usually spotted with useach year.

Sharks of up to 3m have been recorded.

Butterfly perch  

Butterfly Perch

Caesioperca lepidoptera

FISH and Mammals

Butterfly perch are uncommon in our local environment however at certain times of the year a few are seen taking refuge at the Aramoana mole. They are easily identified by their pink colour and large black spot in the middle of their body.

Grows up to 40cm in length.

Butterfish  

Butterfish

Odax pullus

Green bone

FISH and Mammals

Butterfish go through sex change at about 35-40cm, at this stage they also change colour from a dark green brown to olive green or blue. As they mature the white line down the centre of their body breaks up and becomes less noticeable. Large fish also have blue wavy lines predominately around the face and lower jaw but also along the body. Juveniles are small and golden yellow with a significant white stripe down the centre of their body. They eat seaweeds and sometimes small isopods and salps and are found schooling around short kelp forest. Their bones have a green tinge which is why they are known to some as green bone.

Can be found up to 70cm in length.