Kermadec Islands

underwater photos of marine life at the Kermadec Islands

By Floor Anthoni (2005)
(all photos A5@300dpi quality unless indicated otherwise)
The Kermadec Islands, surrounded by a large fully protected marine reserve, are located 1000km north of New Zealand along the Kermadec Trench. Volcanic in origin, this cluster of rocky islands rises from a 3000-6000m deep sea, home to a variety of sea birds. Underwater the seascape is dominated by corals rather than the brown kelps of New Zealand. Because of their isolation, these islands have not been fished intensively, but also because the waters do not provide an abundance of food and commercial fish species. The waters are clear with an avarage visibility exceeding 30m, even though close to the volcanic islands, it reduces to half that. The Kermadec islands has its own special underwater life, adapted to living in a small place surrounded by a desert of ocean. There are no regular tourist trips to these islands, which makes each visit a rare occasion. Large spotted black groupers which have become rare elsewhere, can be found here.
The images shown here have appeared in a scientific treatise of these islands on the Seafriends web site
go to more images <=> go to lots and lots of images
Keywords: NZ, New Zealand, Kermadec, Raoul, MacAuley, Esperance, Pacific, diving, scuba, sea, underwater, discovery, adventure, coral, nature, environment, subtropical, subtropic, cool coral habitat, 

f031424: a garden of lush fleshy corals
f031424: A garden of lush fleshy corals in a sheltered, shallow place.
f031318: a diver inspects a large gorgonean
f031318: a diver admires a large gorgonean coral growing in a shaded place.
f031315: diver and large gorgonean coral
f031315: surrounded by blue maomao (Scorpis violaceus), a diver approaches a large gorgonean coral.
f031313: diver surrounded by blue maomao
f031313: a school of inquisitive blue maomao (Scorpis violaceus) surrounds the diver, who for them is a rare and interesting appearance.
f031311: diver surrounded by demoiselles
f031311: a diver finds herself suddenly surrounded by two-spot demoiselles (Chromis dispilus).
f031709: female spotted black grouper
f031709: a large female spotted black grouper comes close to the photographer.
f031312: a diver surrounded by blue maomao
f031312: suddenly a large school of blue maomao (Scorpis violaceus) appears, all interested in the divers. It feels like being in paradise.
f031026: a snorkeldiver approaches grey knifefish
f031026: A snorkeldiver views a school of grey knife fish
(Bathystethus cultratus) close to the surface. Although knifefish swim around freely, they are not blue sea pelagic, but stay around the bubble-impregnated wild waters close to shore. These provide protection and also planktonic food, which is richer close to the sruface..
f031715: large female spotted black grouper
f031715: each large male spotted black grouper surrounds himself with a harem of females, of which three seen here.
f031704: snorkeldiver and groupers
f031704: a small amount of food indicated our good intentions, and turned the large groupers into a friendly mood.
f031607: large male spotted black grouper and diver
f031607: the single large male spotted black grouper (Epinephalus daemelii) is not afraid although feeding like this is a rare event. The amount fed is in no way important to this large fish which weighs more than the diver.
f031703: diver and large groupers
f031703: the smaller females gradually lose all fear and come closer at each pass. The smaller fish are striped mado (Atypichthys latus).
f031608: diver strokes small grouper
f031608: a diver strokes a small female spotted black grouper, which is an exciting moment for both.
f031701: female black grouper, large and ugly
f031701: these large groupers can change colour rapidly, from dark brown to black, to mottled grey and light grey with stripes.
f031716: large female grouper
f031716: a large female grouper is changing colour to grey with stripes.
f031724: large grouper dwarfs diver
f031724: a snorkeldiver is dwarfed by the large male spotted black grouper.
f031023: grey drummers and a yellow colour variant
f031023: the grey drummer (Kyphosus bigibbus) is found only here. The yellow fish is a grey drummer variant.
f031323: large red gorgonean and blue maomao
f031323: large red-purple gorgonean coral fan and semipelagic fish, two-spot demoiselles and blue maomao.
f030932: brown and yellow featherstars
f030932[A4]: brown and yellow feather stars (Crinoid sp) are able to catch fine plankton particles.
f031508: yellow gorgonean fan and tube corals
f031508[A4]: The yellow gorgonean fan coral is much rarer than the others. In the foreground of both pictures the common brown featherstar. This seastar has specialised in catching minute planktonic organisms in its finely feathered arms.
f031506: rich but fragile life in a deep archway
f031506[A4]: Brown and yellow featherstars (Crinoid sp) surrounded by yellow Tubastrea tube coral, and in the centre a young purple fan coral.
f031507: brown feather stars
f031507[A4]: brown feather stars (Crinoid sp) hanging down from the ceiling of a deep archway.
f031205: closeup of red diadema urchin
f031205[A4]: closeup of red needle urchin (Diadema palmeri) shows its mysterious sack and needle sharp spines.
f030909: black and white urchin tripneustes sp
f030909[A4]: The pied urchin or white-spined urchin (Tripneustes gratilla) is truly jet-black with purely white spines. It is very common on the Kermadecs.
f030424: purple urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersi)
f030424[A4]: Although the purple urchin (Centrostephanus rodgersi) looks jet-black from even a short distance, it is nonetheless dark purple when lit by a powerful light.
f031110: crown of thorn stars
f031110[A4]: Close-up of the Crown of thorns star, showing concentric rings of red. The red colour is caused by red tube feet, sticking up through thousands of pores in its back. These tubefeet keep it free from being fouled by algae and other animals.
f031227: grey moray in coral carpet
f031227[A4]: a grey moray (Gymnothorax nubilus) has found a home in a shag-pile coral.
f031320: diver and lion fish
f031320: Although a little nervous, this lionfish tolerates the diver and the photographer nearby, but the diver is wary of its poisonous back spines. The picture shows its relative size, but it can grow to 38cm long.
f030917: firefish hunting at dusk
f030917: At dusk, the firefish congregate in sheltered caves and at strategic points awaiting small fish to return to their narrow coral shelters. Advantaged by low light conditions, this time of day is good for hunting.
f031820c: A lionfish venturing in open water
f031820c: A lionfish has cautiously left its cave, now silhouetted against a clear blue sea. It shows clearly ten long dorsal spines and two smaller ones.
f030937: gaudy frills of lion fish
f030937c: A beautiful image of the gaudy petticoats and frills of the lionfish. Notice how its breast fins fold over and forward, changing from short fingers to long wings. In this species, the wings are particularly showy and fully webbed. Notice also the very large ventral fins, almost joining the breast fins. This particular animal has no eye protrusions (eyebrows).
f031819: lion fish Pterois volitans
f031819: A fine display of firefish gaudiness, set against a background of purple and green rock.
f031124: lion fish colour display
f031124[A4]: A fine display of the firefish, set against the gaudy backdrop of encrusting coralline algae (pink) and matting sponges (green, yellow, orange, red)
f031221: splendid hawkfish (Cirrhitus splendens)
f031221[A4]: The splendid hawkfish (Cirrhitus splendens) is conspicuous by night but well camouflaged by day. it lives in the shallows and is well equipped to hold on firmly to whatever unevenness the rocks may offer. It eats small crustaceans. Notice the brushes at the tips of its dorsal spines.
f030934: Yellow-banded perch (Acanthistius cinctus)
f030934[A4]: Yellow-banded perch (Acanthistius cinctus) in a cavern.
f031207: Lord Howe coralfish
f031207[A4]: This Lord Howe coralfish (Amphichaetodon howensis) has just bedded downfor the night and is in the process of changing it colours.
f032002: a bonded pair of Lord Howe coral fish
f032002: Lord Howe coralfish (Amphichaetodon howensis) are usually found in pairs. The pair bond lasts for life. These fish are well equipped to pick morsels of food like shrimps from the gaps in between coral heads.
f031520: Striped boarfish (Evistias acutirostris)
f031520: Striped boarfish (Evistias acutirostris)

f031519: Striped boarfish (Evistias acutirostris)

f031519: Striped boarfish (Evistias acutirostris)
f031107: Sandagers king wrasse Coris sandageri
f031107[A4]: Sandagers king wrasse (Coris sandageri) shows bleeding scratches caused by sabretooth blennies.
f031235: Morse-code leatherjacket (Thamnaconus analis)
f031235: Female morse-code leatherjacket (Thamnaconus analis) found sleeping near a fruit bowl coral. Rather ill at ease, it has erected its dorsal spine which prevents predators from swallowing it. It derives its name from the dash-dot patterns on its sides, which it can turn off at will, but the blue belly button remains.
-- Seafriends home -- photo stock library -- UW photography -- Seafriends site map -- Rev 20060806

go to more images <=> go to lots and lots of images