Five More Fish

Common in specific areas, I rate these second to the high five

Butterfish     Yellow-eyed mullet     Leatherjacket     Scarlet wrasse     Marblefish


Other Names: Greenbone, mararii, kooeaea. (Odax pullus)

Habitat: Seaweed covered reefs. Usually shallower than 20m.

Identification: Has juvenile, female, male and breeding phase colours. The juvenile phase has a slender kelp-yellow body with a silver line along the side. The female has a deeper body than juveniles and is darker above (brown, or dark green). She has a continuous silver stripe on the side. The male phase has dark olive green to black above and olive green below. He is covered with blue dots and wavy blue lines and has very long dorsal and anal fins. He has a light band along the side. In the breeding phase both sexes have a bright blue strip along the lower jaw and face. The colour phases grade into each other.

General: They begin life as females and reach maturity at about 35-40cm after 4-5 years. Some change sex at about 40cm after one or two breeding seasons. Oldest males are over 10 years old.

Eat a wide variety of large brown seaweeds. Juveniles hide camouflaged in weed and adults swim away if startled. Males are territorial.

Rex's Sightings: Off the Sirens, opposite the Brass Monkey car park. Around the DEVON below Pencarrow light.


Yellow-Eyed Mullet

Other Names: Aua, sprat, herring (wrongly) or common mullet. (Aldrichetta forsteri)

Habitat: Estuaries, harbours and sheltered bays.

Identification: Grey-green above, silver below; eye yellow.

General: They form large schools in sheltered water. They digest organic matter or small crustaceans from mud on sea floor, or eat plankton. Mature at about 3 years, males 14-15cm, females 17cm.

Rex's Sightings: Around a Toyota Cresida, just off the Burnham wharf car park.



Other Names: Kookiri, filefish, triggerfish, creamfish. (Parika scaber)

Habitat: Reefs, but also frequently over open bottom and in midwater.

Identification: Distinctive body shape and dorsal spine (usually raised when approached closely). Varies from white to dark brown, spots on body and stripes on head may be present or absent. Males have yellow-green tail with a fine black band near rear edge. Females have grey-brown tail.

General: Eat any living matter, mainly sponges or ascidians (sea squirts). In midwater feed on salps and jellyfish. Eggs are laid in nests on the bottom and are not guarded. Golden brown juveniles less than 1cm long live in kelp. Schools of several hundred may be seen above the kelp. They seem to be territorial and to live as a mating pair.

Rex's Sightings: Shelly Bay, during a night dive. Burnham Wharf, a juvenile about 5cm long and an adult female. Island bay, during a night dive.


Scarlet Wrasse

Other Names: Puuwaiwhakarua, soldier, red soldier. (Pseudolabrus miles)

Habitat: Reefs, near boulders and crevices. Most abundant below 15m.

Identification: Three colour phases, juvenile, female and male. All phases have a prominent triangular black wedge in front of the tail, and a scarlet head with a white lower jaw and throat. The juveniles are pale pink above, with faint banding and are white below. The females are red above, yellow and red striped below. The males have a scarlet edge to their scales, making the whole body seem scarlet.

General: Always active when in the open, but frequently found under boulders or in crevices. Eat crabs, jellyfish, brittlestars and sea urchins. Juveniles mature at 1 year, females breed for two years before changing sex about age 4 years.

Rex's Sightings: Among the rocky reefs off Princess Bay.



Other Names: Kehe. (Aplodactylus arctidens)

Habitat: Reefs, near caves and crevices.

Identification: Olive green or brown, heavily marbled with white. Swimming motion very sinuous. Grows to 70cm.

General: Swims with an exaggerated, sinuous motion. Often swim towards a diver, stop a metre away, and then dash away again. Solitary and home ranging. Most active at dawn and dusk. Graze on fine red and green seaweed with their downward pointing mouths and slicing teeth.

Rex's Sightings: A family living inside the YUNG PEN. Off the Sirens, opposite the Brass monkey car park.

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