Journal archives for December 2017

December 01, 2017

Hermit Crab Hunt - Lophopagurus thompsoni

We have had out first obs for the Lophopagurus thompsoni which is a red hermit crab. On the orginal obs for this @clinton says:

This is a widespread species (Three Kings Islands - Stewart Island), recorded from inshore waters to over 1900 m depth; type locality Cook Strait.

So how many more locations can we get for this?

Posted on December 01, 2017 20:31 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 1 comments | Leave a comment

December 04, 2017

Hunt for a Mantis Shrimp - Pariliacantha georgeorum

The first recorded Pariliacantha georgeorum for NW from Long Bay and was ID by @wmblom who says

A quick field id for live specimens are the lateral 'eyespots' near the tail, and on the tail itself the 2 black bars separated by white/yellow line.

This species is fairly common in the North Island on exposed or semi-exposed clean sand to fine muddy-sand beaches, but in the past was mistaken for several other species of mantis shrimp. Shane Ahyong recognised this as a separate species in 2012 (See ' Ahyong (2012) The Marine Fauna of New Zealand: Mantis Shrimps (Crustacea: Stomatopoda) pp.72-77.)

Observation here

Posted on December 04, 2017 21:35 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 1 comments | Leave a comment

December 06, 2017

Remote, Rugged, Wild and Fabulous - Northern End of the Tohe

The very northern end of the Tohe, 90 Mile beach is accessed is through a stream and up the beach, meaning if you misjudge the tides or do not know what you are doing out there you will be in serious trouble. The snip from Google maps below will give you an appreciation of the ruggedness of the area, with those cliffs towering 100m straight up and the white wash of the waves as they pound into shore.

On Monday 4th December 2017, I took @indeynz for a trip up there. Meeting at my place we took my little truck as it is 4WD, something that is vital if you are going to bravely venture into that area. It took us about an hour travelling up the road, down the Te Paki stream and up the Tohe to the northern end. Parking roughly where the red line ends on the right, we walked over to the first cliff face and wandered around. I enjoyed taking my time for once as I usually arrive there, do a quick look, take a few photos then I am out of there, but this time was Nature Watch Time!

It took us about an hour to follow the red line out until it turns and by then the rocks at the end of that point were starting to be fully exposed. Another hour saw us back up the other side which is where the cave is. Then it was a quick walk across the now exposed sand and out to the end of the red line on the left.

The photo below where the rock points up is where the red line ends. Needless to say we arrived at the island at low tide! That is where there is an amazing gut for studying the D.antartica.

From there it was a meander all the way back to the truck and home.

This whole area was covered in mussels - so much so that you could not walk without standing on them. There were mussels on mussels and when all of that real estate was taken up they moved onto seaweed.

Fromw the obs highlighted below you can check out the the red zig zag lines of juvenile green lipped mussels, the first NW obs for a giant triplefin, the D. antartica gut which is great for getting up close and personal and common flapjack being used as a mussel high rise, all taken from this wonderful day out.

Posted on December 06, 2017 09:26 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 4 observations | 3 comments | Leave a comment

December 31, 2017

Exploring The Moana At Night

Last Christmas we bought dive lights but never tried them out so this Christmas we have used them. As we had not been out at night before into the moana we read up on safety tips and decided to ignore the one that said, "Keep an eye on the lights on shore" as there are no lights here.

Heading out our first night we timed it so that we would be out at dusk and by the time we finished it would be totally dark. We also choose a rock pool so we would not have to deal with surges while we got used to being in the dark in the water with only our head lights and torch. Of course I also had to work out how to take photos at night underwater.

If anyone is going to attempt this I recommend to start at dusk in a calm area so that you get used to the lessening light as this worked well for us.

Two nights later we headed out again and this time it was fully dark when we headed out, and this time into a gut. Wow! What a world waiting to explore! Fish sleeping, packies out and about and the eels! I saw a white eel, about 600mm long and narrow with black stiripe markings on its top fin (running from the edge to the body in lines) but as I have not worked out how to get good photos missed it, even through it spent about 5 minutes twinning around carpophyllum. We were wondering if this was a juvie of something - would you have any idea @clinton?

We also saw, what we thought may be a conger, because of the wide head poking out then retreating.

A New Zealand Piper sped past, stopped, reversed to see what we were doing, then took off again.

I so have to learn how to photograph all of these amazing creatures at night. Next week are nice lows so will be having another go and hopefully I can get photos of all the amazing creatures I have not seen and I missed these times around!

Posted on December 31, 2017 03:50 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 6 observations | 10 comments | Leave a comment