Fish Photos

underwater images of common fishes of New Zealand

By Floor Anthoni (2006)
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Keywords: New zealand, NZ, fish, fishes, schoolfish, 

all photos A5 quality unless otherwise indicated.

a pack of young kingfish Seriola grandis
f005312: a posse of young kingfish passes by to satisfy their curiosity. After only a few passes, they get bored and carry on with their hunt, out of sight from divers. Remarkably, each individual has its own characteristic markings, by which it is identified. (Seriola grandis)

f007209: a female leatherjacket comes close to inspect the photographer. These fish are such a joy for divers, because they inspect the gleaming cameras and lights, and they play with the divers' bubbles. (Parika scaber)
f000904: a leatherjacket gives a diver's finger a little nip, to find out what it is made of. These fish even feed from poisonous sponges, some of which resemble this outstretched finger.

male leatherjacket with a skin fungus disease.
f000909: male leatherjacket with a skin fungus disease.
large leatherjacket (Parika scaber)
f026010: many leatherjackets along offshore islands suffer from a black-spot skin disease. (Parika scaber)

silver drummer (Keyphosus sydneyanus)
f007721: silver drummers are not uncommon, but they live in wave-washed shallow areas, grazing the seaweeds there. Easily caught in set-nets, their numbers have dwindled considerably. So happening upon a group of about 30 very old and large ones, is a rare event. (Keyphosus sydneyanus)
silver drummer (Keyphosus sydneyanus)
f007724: only by keeping still amongst the cover of stalked kelp, did the fish dare to come near the photographer. Curious as they are, they are also about equally wary. These fish kept a keen eye on the photographer, while passing by. (Keyphosus sydneyanus)

silver drummer (Keyphosus sydneyanus)
f007727: in a rare occasion of trust, these large silver drummer carry on with their duties as they are being observed from close up. The reason for their assembly is the little trevally cleanerfish, fisible at the top, facing the nose-up drummer who has turned silver for the occasion. The others wait patiently for their turn, face-down with their fins coloured black, similar to their pyjamas at night, as if they are saying 'I am not taking part'.
silver drummer (Keyphosus sydneyanus)
f007729: once the cleanerfish has arrived at its client's tail, it becomes the next client's turn. The waiting fish signal each other with colour changes in their skins and tails, and with their postures. These fish have lived together as one group for perhaps twenty years, and they know one another very well. (Keyphosus sydneyanus)

silver drummer (Keyphosus sydneyanus)
f007734: a close pass of large and old silver drummers.
silver drummer (Keyphosus sydneyanus)
f007736: a silver drummer passes by for a good look at the photographer.

male butterfish (Odax pullus)
f007732: a mature male butterfish is difficult to photograph because he is very shy. Butterfishes are all born female, but the oldest and largest may turn into a beautiful male with long drooping fins and a blue 'moko' on its face. Meeting such a fish at night, when he is most beautifully coloured, is truly a spectacular experience. (Odax pullus) [A6]
male butterfish (Odax pullus)
f007733: butterfish are at home in the stalked kelp (Ecklonia radiata) which is also their food.
(Odax pullus)

snapper or sea bream (Pagrus auratus)
f008706: snapper closeup in natural light (Pagrus auratus)
snapper or sea bream (Pagrus auratus)
f017809: closeup of a large snapper, named Panda on account of its dark eyes and dark snout. This snapper has amazed many in the safety of the Goat Island marine reserve.

snapper or sea bream (Pagrus auratus)
f017813: study of Panda's face under varying light conditions.
snapper or sea bream (Pagrus auratus)
snapper or sea bream (Pagrus auratus)
f030108: a young snapper [A4]

snapper or sea bream (Pagrus auratus)
f030211: in marine reserves, some big snapper become trusting of humans, to the delight of both. [A4]
snapper or sea bream (Pagrus auratus)
f008513: a snapper has claimed a sheltered territory near a rocky overhang, between tall seaweeds. Some snapper adhere to the coast, and change their colour from pink to brownish.

snapper or sea bream (Pagrus auratus) Monkeyface
f017921: the legendary 'Monkeyface', a very large snapper living in the Goat Island marine reserve.
blue cod (Parapercis colias)
f002607: closeup of a mature blue cod. (Parapercis colias)

schooling fish feeding frenzy
f011126: New Zealand used to have untold many shoals of surface-feeding fish like this mixed kahawai-trevally school near Cape Brett. In its frenzy, the school drives planktonic shrimps to the surface, where they cannot escape. Sea birds wait patiently but nervously for a share in the banquet.
bio07: this diagram shows how kahawai drive their prey to the surface in a continuous motion. The fish in the rear, discover that there is no food left for them, and they dive underneath, to surface before the ones in front. In doing so, they also drive the shrimps to the surface in a rolling, continuous motion.

trevally (Pseudocaranx dentex)
f019812: closeup of young trevally. (Pseudocaranx dentex)
trevally school (Pseudocaranx dentex)
f023737: a school of young trevally resting in the shelter of a cove at the Poor Knights Islands. (Pseudocaranx dentex)

resting trevally
f023304: cathedral light, silver trevally and Lessonia kelp. (Pseudocaranx dentex)
trevally and blue maomao hunting
f024634: a school consisting mainly of trevally, with here and there a blue maomao.
trevally and blue maomao hunting
f024633: continuation of the school on left. (Pseudocaranx dentex)

jackmackerel Trachurus novaezelandiae
f021031: a school of mature jack mackerels resting near the bottom, above the safe refuge of the stalked kelp. Trachurus novaezelandiae
jackmackerel Trachurus novaezelandiae
f021026: contiuation of the previous photo. Trachurus novaezelandiae

f023625: meeting a school of pink maomao gives one a sense of being in another world. These plankton-feeding, slow moving fish, related to perches, take their planktonic food in depths of 15-40m. In these depths, there is less food than at the surface, but these fish live very frugally and grow rather old. Here a diver aims her light on the school, changing the colours of nearby fish into bright pink. The others find this interesting, and approach inquisitively with care.
f024225: a school of pink maomao was sleeping in dense formation when it was disturbed by our presence. Here the elegant fish are slowly making their way to the depth.

pink moamao sleeping Caprodon longimanus
f020700: when sleeping at night, pink maomao change their colours as shown here. Although pelagic, these fish depend on the rocky shore for protection. Caprodon longimanus
young pink moamao sleeping Caprodon longimanus
f029718: young pink maomao are rarely seen, suggesting that this species reproduces slowly and only occasionally. This young pink maomao, photographed at night, is only half the size of a mature one. (Jan 2002) [A4]

red moki feeding Cheilodactylus spectabilis
f019936: a large red moki is seen working the pink turf with its broad lips. It shakes snails and sea slaters from their sheltered positions inside the hardy stone-leaved turf with a loud suck, then sieves the content from sand. Cheilodactylus spectabilis
moki den with many inhabitants Cheilodactylus spectabilis
f016915: the number one requirement for red moki is a sheltering cave to spend the night. This prevents them from roaming around freely, which also keeps them inside the marine reserve. Their numbers rebounded spectacularly. Here is a moki 'hole' with only a dozen mokis. Some moki holes count over 80 individuals!

mature parore Girella tricuspidata
f001227: parore are plant eaters with fused teeth. They can change the colour of their skins from pale white through olive green to black. They also have preferred 'suits', like this pin-striped business suit. Girella tricuspidata
parore scraping large seaweeds Girella tricuspidata
f000832: rather than eating the tough brown seaweeds, parore nibble the lush algae growing on these weeds, and which when left unchecked, could smother the host. Parore thus provide an indispensable cleaning service to nearly all plants of the reef community. They are also instrumental in keeping mussel cultures clean. Unfortunately, they are also hunted to near extinction with nylon set nets, for bait in crayfish pots.

group-feeding parore Girella tricuspidata
f000932: a group of parore sociably feeding on a patch of bladder weeds. Girella tricuspidata
Girella tricuspidata
f000718: a parore in olive suit, working the bladderweeds of a shallow, exposed site. Girella tricuspidata

resting parore Girella tricuspidata
f002220: a social group of parore sunbathing in the shelter of an overhang. They often wait here for a trevally cleaner fish to arrive.
parore returning to their den Girella tricuspidata
f001820: a group of parore speeding home to their sleeping den, behind this rock. One of them halts to inspect the strange photographer.

Girella tricuspidata
f001228: a group of parore being cleaned by a trevally cleaner fish.

john dory Zeus faber
f021328: a john dory photographed by night. Notice the curvature inside its eye. It allows fish vision 180 degrees around. Zeus faber
john dory Zeus faber
f006019: although john dory are compulsive hunters, they now and then do pause. This one had parked itself in a recess outside the current. Zeus faber

john dory Zeus faber
f017712: john dory are quite inventive in their hunting strategies. Here one is seen flat on its side, mimicking a green seaweed, complete with colour change. In the top right corner, its prey, a school of wary jack mackerels can be seen. John dory's swim bladders are so finely balanced, that they can swim in any position, even upside down. At the entrances of caves, one can see them upside down at the ceiling, 'thinking' that the bright sandy bottom below, is the sky.
john dory Zeus faber
f017714: the hunt seen from a low perspective. Zeus faber

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