Divers common companions
Spotty Banded wrasse Blue cod
Other Names: Paketi, pakirikiri, kelpie, guffy and butterfish. (Notolabrus celidotus)
Ranges from estuaries to reefs. Usually shallower than 10m.
Has two colour phases, female and male. The female is silver to dark brown, usually yellow-brown. She has a large black blotch in middle of her body. The male has a golden -brown head, grey-brown body. The female blotch has broken up and moved to the upper back.
Active by day, the smaller fish sleep in crevices or weeds at night. The larger fish tend to sleep on a flat bottom and may scoop out a hollow in the sand to sleep in. They secrete a mucus coating around body when resting and change colour slightly. Sex change from female to male at around 4 years, therefore males are nearly always the larger fish. However, it is the dominant fish which change to males then become territorial and guard a harem. The Island Bay Marine Lab had a lone little girl in an aquarium. Because she was the senior Spotty she changed to a male.
Schools of little girls beside the car park at Burnham Wharf, amongst the weed around the sides of Mahanga Bay, pecking my
moustache near the Yung Pen. If you need me to tell you where to find a Spotty, you need more dive time!
Taangahangaha, parrotfish, kelpie, kelpfish and butterfish.(Notolabrus fucicola)
Reefs, generally with seaweed. Usually shallower than 10m.
They have two colour phases, initial and terminal. The initial phase may be male or female. They are green or brown with a row of yellow spots along the back and scattered yellow spots on body. The terminal phase is nearly always male. These are blue-grey with a yellow blaze on the snout, a yellow nape band and six creamy spots on back.
Active by day, rests in crevices at night. Eat any small invertebrates such as limpets, chitons, crabs, mussels. Very interested in divers activities. Males are territorial. Many females change sex to male when between 10-30cm long, the initial to terminal phase change time.
Off Princess Bay beside Houghton bay. Around the DEVON at Pencarrow head. At the Sirens, opposite the Brass Monkey car park. Off the old sewer outlet at Owhiro Bay. In the first bay with bach's, west of Owhiro Bay quarry. In fact, they are at most dive sites.
Paakirikiri, raawaru and coalfish. (Parapercis colias)
Open reef areas or sand patches near reefs. Shallows to 150m.
Three colour phases, juvenile, brown and blue. The juvenile phase is up to about 10cm and is white with 2 dark stripes on the back. In the brown phase (10-25cm), the stripes fade to light brown. In the blue phase most fish are over 25cm, are blue-grey above, have a turquoise band behind the head and are white below.
They are inquisitive and will closely approach divers. They are often seen perched on the bottom on their large pelvic and pectoral fins. Blue cod mature as either male or female, but some females eventually change sex to become males. Large males are territorial. Try stopping on the bottom and stirring up the sand in front of a cod. You will soon have a large cod audience.
Mud or sand, occasionally near reef edges. Inshore to 200m. (Nemadactylus macropterus)
Grey or silver, darker above than below with prominent black band behind the eye. The pectoral fin has one greatly elongated ray.
Active by day, rests in hollows on a flat bottom at night. At this time their colour becomes blotchy. They feed mainly at dusk on worms, crabs, brittlestars and shellfish. Their spawning grounds are off East Cape.
Adults occur mainly over mud or sand, occasionally near reef edges. Juveniles live mainly on reefs.
Blue-grey above, often with light and dark banding; silver below. Lips large and fleshy. Flat section of spine.
Adult Blue Moki eat crabs, other crustaceans, shellfish and worms which they suck from the sand or mud. They form large
schools which make annual migrations to the spawning ground near Gisborne.
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