Most of Blue Fleet Welcomes Me Home

Usually when I return home after being away, the first chance I get I'm in the water and usually welcomed by wheke which we all know are common and easily spotted :D

However, the first time I went down to the beach the water was rough, with white caps everywhere and I did not fancy photographing sand particles in good focus with a creature lurking in the background of the photo, so we did a hikoi (walk) along the beach instead.

The tide was on its way out and up in the high tide mark I spotted Janthina - photographing those in strong winds is a mission as those shells are light! *LOL* Then heading towards the water, in the next wash line, were by-the wind sailors and then I saw the blue buttons.

Aha! He tohu tena pea? A sign perhaps? Surely if there were a few blue buttons around then those elusive Sea swallows, Glaucus atlanticus, will be around somewhere. So heading towards the water again, sure enough on the next wash line there they were! Totally stoked to see these again.

Of course, when I first found the Blue Fleet I did not know at that time that there were 2 different species that wash up from the Glaucus whanau, and as this was the first time I had seen them since then, this was the ideal opportunity to take a very good look at them and see if I could spot the two species clearly and sure enough. After lurking and studying and looking closely, the two species are easy to spot, as seen in the photo below :)


Right: Glaucus atlanticus Left: Glaucilla bennettae

I also noticed that the Glaucilla bennettae were all together further down the beach while where the Glaucus atlanticus were, there were also a few of the Glaucilla bennettae. So maybe the Glaucilla bennettae prefer to hang out by themselves.

However, the blue bottle - the most common of the blue fleet was no where to be seen!

Further Reading: Distinguishing Glaucus atlanticus and Glaucilla bennettae is a post I put on the Blue Fleet Monitoring Project.

Posted by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua, February 08, 2019 21:14

Observations

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Violet Sea Snail Janthina janthina

Observer

tangatawhenua

Date

February 7, 2019 01:52 PM NZDT

Description

Part of the blue fleet washed up in this turbulant tide, still with the bubble raft.

Photos / Sounds

What

Violet Globe Snail Janthina globosa

Observer

tangatawhenua

Date

February 7, 2019 01:52 PM NZDT

Description

I think this species.

Part of the blue fleet washed up in this turbulant tide, one still with the bubble raft.

Photos / Sounds

Observer

tangatawhenua

Date

February 7, 2019 01:55 PM NZDT

Description

The stars of the blue fleet.

The sea swallow - Glaucus atlanticus can be identified by the two dark stripes with a silver strip inside them on the top, while the Glaucus bennettae has two dark stripes that are have a blue strip inside them, instead of silver (as seen in this obs) .

G.atlanticus is larger, up to about 30mm while G.bennettae is smaller - about 12-15mm.

If you ever come across a washup take a close look at different Glaucus, as once you spot the difference they are easy to tell apart, even at a quick glance.

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Dwarf Janthina Janthina exigua

Observer

tangatawhenua

Date

February 7, 2019 02:43 PM NZDT

Description

Identifyable by the prominent ridges

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Blue Button Porpita porpita

Observer

tangatawhenua

Date

February 7, 2019 02:13 PM NZDT

Description

Part of the blue fleet

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

Sea Swallow Glaucus atlanticus

Observer

tangatawhenua

Date

February 7, 2019 02:23 PM NZDT

Description

Although the prominent silver strip down the middle of the body is not prominent, the long tail is also a distinguishing feature of G. atlanticus, as G. bennettae have short tails, that almost appear to be a part of all the "frills".

Photos / Sounds

Square

What

By-the-wind Sailor Velella velella

Observer

tangatawhenua

Date

February 7, 2019 03:11 PM NZDT

Description

Part of the blue fleet

Comments

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I wonder when they will reach us here in Auckland.

Posted by predomalpha 8 months ago (Flag)
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I wonder when they will reach us here in Auckland.

Posted by predomalpha 8 months ago (Flag)
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They have reached the Coromandal, but I am wondering because Auckland is in a harbour if that is the reason they have not been spotted on that side - and @jacqui-nz is still waiting to find them on the west coast in Auckland :)

Posted by tangatawhenua 8 months ago (Flag)
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Yeah, I went to Piha a couple of times, nothing there, few months ago I found a stray Janthina exigua wandering the Manukau Harbour.

Posted by predomalpha 8 months ago (Flag)
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Spectacular! What a wonderful welcome! :)

Posted by sambiology 8 months ago (Flag)
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So true @sambiology - the joy of living by the ocean! :D

Posted by tangatawhenua 8 months ago (Flag)

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