25 de septiembre de 2021

Resighting of an obscure acoelomorph flatworm in Taputeranga Marine Reserve

On September 24 Jean Roger (@jeanro) photographed a tiny, bright orange flatworm at the Sirens (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/95958850; https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/96063712). I mistook it for the tiny, similarly coloured dorid nudibranch Vayssierea cinnabarea but after a couple of iterations Geoff Read (@readgb) identified it as the poorly known acoel Polychoerus gordoni Achatz, Hooge, Wallberg, Jondelius & Tyler, 2009 (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/j.1439-0469.2009.00555.x). Jean’s observation prompted Geoff to post his original observation of the species from the Sirens (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/96033247). He collected the then undescribed species during the 2007 pre-marine reserve Bioblitz. The circularity of these observations is a very good example of the value of citizen science in documenting biodiversity through both the bioblitz concept and the power of iNat to connect naturalists, wildlife photographers, students and other scientists with taxonomists.

By my count this project has documented 523 species from the marine reserve. Still big gaps in many of the smaller, cryptic, 'less photogenic' groups, particularly subtidal benthic species.

Anotado en 25 de septiembre de 2021 a las 03:30 AM por clinton clinton | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

05 de mayo de 2021

City Nature Challenge 2021

Well, I have to say that for a while I was reeling under the weight of posts generated by the Challenge but they have been a real boon for this project. My favourite species so far has to be Chromoplana sirena by @naturewatchwidow https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/75732705.

Those feeling confused by the taxonomy of sea lettuces (Ulva spp.) should relax, its normal, read the advice provided by @svenjah at https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/76454804.

Anotado en 05 de mayo de 2021 a las 10:01 PM por clinton clinton | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

06 de octubre de 2020

Spring 2020

As of today, 7 October 2020, the project has garnered 2737 observations of at least 423 species. Some of those that have caught my eye recently have been of:

Although looking decidedly worse for wear the elephant fish egg case is of interest to me because it implies this species is breeding within at least part of the marine reserve. I have seen egg cases of this species previously off Seatoun and Eastbourne but a quick scan of the records on iNat shows egg cases scattered throughout the outer part of the harbour, including Oriental Bay, and along the south coast as far west as Owhiro Bay. This species usually deposits its eggs in pairs on soft sediments from a few metres depth down to at least 12 m. The south coast iNat records are clustered in Owhiro Bay and Lyall Bay but its possible eggs are being laid on any suitable substrate from 3-12 m depth between these locations. So next time you swimming over sand, mud, gravel or a red algal meadow keep an eye out for them. The eggs are laid from spring to autumn and take at least 6 months to hatch depending on water temperature. They are golden brown (kelp coloured) when fresh but turn black with age.

Anotado en 06 de octubre de 2020 a las 07:51 PM por clinton clinton | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

03 de mayo de 2020

April storm damage

During the big seas in April, particularly those on April 15, large amounts of kelp were torn up and cast ashore. Below the surface there will have been a lot of movement of sand, gravel and small boulders, possibly even very large boulders. Once we're out of lock down and allowed to dive again it would be interesting to see if there are any visible signs of this disturbance and potentially document the recovery. It will also be interesting to see what has happened to the piles of seaweed on shore (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/43028575) and record some of the species that have colonised them.

Anotado en 03 de mayo de 2020 a las 10:32 PM por clinton clinton | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

14 de febrero de 2020

Summer 2020

This project is overdue for an update. Fantastic observations keep being added at a steady rate, these have now reached 2400, and the species count is now 400. Below is a purely eclectic selection of some of my favourite recent additions:

• Predation on Ericentrus rubrus by a redbilled gull captured by @goodonya (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/38631492)

• The beautiful saccoglossan slug Oxynoe viridis on a frond of the green alga Caulerpa geminata encrusted with small patches of the epiphytic coralline alga Pneophyllum coronatum photographed by @sarahmilicich (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/37607827).

• The images of the delicate siphosome of Rosacea sp., a siphonophore, by @nicolemiller (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36564540). Identification of this was a real group effort involving @wyattp11, Dr Dennis Gordon (NIWA) and Dr Gillian Mapstone (the Natural History Museum, London).

Anotado en 14 de febrero de 2020 a las 11:15 PM por clinton clinton | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

11 de diciembre de 2019

Subtropical visitor spotted in Taputeranga Marine Reserve

The cosmopolitan tropical - subtropical salp Cyclosalpa bakeri was recently snapped in the marine reserve - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/36457618#activity_comment_3796894. Please keep an eye out for any more occurrences of this distinctive species, or its close relative C. affinis.

Anotado en 11 de diciembre de 2019 a las 09:13 AM por clinton clinton | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

03 de julio de 2019

Unicorn discovered in Island Bay

On June 27 @kelvinperrie photographed the beach cast carcass of a large leatherjacket not far from the Island Bay Marine Education Centre (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/28086555). The somewhat unusual looking fish turned out to be a unicorn or smooth leatherjacket (Aluterus monoceros). Aluterus monoceros is a large species of leatherjacket that attains a maximum total length of at least 76.2 cm and a maximum published weight of 2.7 kg. It is a tropical-subtropical species with a circumglobal distribution. In life adults are coloured pale grey with faint spotting along the back. Juveniles are pelagic and have a complex reticulate colour pattern of pale lines and greyish blotches. The name unicorn leatherjacket refers to the very long, slender dorsal-fin spine located above the eyes. Adult unicorn leatherjackets feed on benthic invertebrates and are usually found on or near deep reefs (to at least 110 m depth). The pelagic juveniles are often found sheltering around flotsam and jellyfishes. At times adults have also been observed in large schools beneath weed-rafts. This species is infrequently recorded from New Zealand waters (North Cape to Golden Bay). The one and only individual I have seen was caught in an inshore trawl in Hawke Bay in the mid 1990s. Recently however there have been several others recorded from the Wellington region. One was speared off Warehou Bay, Makara, in May (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/25653642), and like the Island Bay specimen two were found washed ashore at Paraparaumu Beach in June (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26936301; https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/26936301).

Anotado en 03 de julio de 2019 a las 11:08 PM por clinton clinton | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario

13 de mayo de 2019

Summer 2018-19 Round-up

With autumn finally making an appearance it is timely to have a look back over the summer that was. Thanks to all of those keen eyes and some extremely talented photographers out there the number of observations captured by the project has reached 2071, representing at least 366 species. The summer saw observations of big nests of rock lobster and big schools of large blue moki mooching over the reefs, and well as swimming flatworms and baby reef squid.

Some of my favourites were:

Orange clinid (Ericentrus rubrus), a common but seldom noticed live-bearing fish - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/24916363
Triangle Crab Eurynolambrus australis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22741981
Cyclosalpa affinis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22211421
Mitrocoma cellularia - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22133451

The tiny saccoglossan sea slugs:

Oxynoe viridis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22058362
Sacoproteus smaragdinus - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/22058461

The rare nudibranch Tritonia flemingi - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19978376

The tiny box jellyfish Carybdea sivickisi taking a rest on a bed of Ulva - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19872914

Pin cushion sea star (Eurygonias hylacanthus) - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19751818

A big conger (Conger verreauxi) covered with scars from octopus suckers - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19626070

Tiny red sea cucumber Squamocnus brevidentis - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations?page=3&place_id=any&project_id=taputeranga-marine-reserve&verifiable=any and https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19421876

The mystery critter photographed in Owhiro Bay by @Wild_Wind in January - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19422554

The siphonophore Abylopsis eschscholtzi - https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/19098458

Anotado en 13 de mayo de 2019 a las 11:47 PM por clinton clinton | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

05 de agosto de 2018

Spring is in the ... tidal current

This project is knocking on the door of 1300 observations, making it the largest and most successful of the New Zealand marine reserve projects to date.

With another substantial contribution of observations from Donnacha Ó Súilleabháin it is apparent that spring is on its way. Many of the male triplefins photographed in the reserve recently are in their breeding colours meaning they're likely to be courting females and guarding eggs.

Observations from last summer indicate it was a good one for the recruitment of leatherjackets and trevally on to the South Coast with large numbers of recently settled juveniles photographed in the marine reserve. Juveniles of several other species of interest were also noted in the reserve, those being magpie morwong, goatfish and red moki.

Donnacha Ó Súilleabháin has also posted several images of an undescribed species of anemone ('Undescribed species 1, pp 164-165, New Zealand Coastal Marine Invertebrates) found in the reserve (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/15130946, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/14879709). Although undescribed, this species is common on subtidal rocky reefs from Northland to Stewart Island. The fact that it remains undescribed highlights how little we know about even common coastal species.

Anotado en 05 de agosto de 2018 a las 09:59 PM por clinton clinton | 0 comentarios | Deja un comentario

02 de mayo de 2018

Mystery of the orange anemone solved (for now)

Well after much debate we seem to have solved the mystery of the small orange anemones first observed by @donnacha . It looks like his hunch (https://inaturalist.nz/observations/9896191#comment-1353340) was right as the current consensus of opinion is that they are the southern New Zealand species Habrosanthus bathamae (Sagartiidae) - see https://inaturalist.nz/observations/11720421. The few images of this species available online show specimens exposed at low water that are much more brightly coloured than the ones so far photographed in the marine reserve. Its not clear to me at least if this is a photographic artifact, or because of the relatively small size of the ones seen so far. That aside, reference to Steve Cook's 'New Zealand Coastal Marine Invertebrates' revealed images of specimens identified as H. bathamae (pg. 162) that are almost identical to those photographed by @sarahmilicich. The Cook book does it again.

Anotado en 02 de mayo de 2018 a las 10:13 AM por clinton clinton | 1 comentario | Deja un comentario